As Senate Republicans prepare to block the formation of a bipartisan commission to study the January 6 Capitol Riot, not everyone in their caucus is thrilled.
On Thursday night, Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski, one of the three reliable Republican Senate moderates, sounded off to a group of reporters, criticizing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for his role in scuttling a deal — a move she framed as being all about electoral politics.
“To be making a decision for the short-term political gain at the expense of understanding and acknowledging what was in front of us on Jan. 6, I think we need to look at that critically,” she said, per HuffPost. “Is that really what this is about, one election cycle after another? Or are we going to acknowledge that as a country that is based on these principles of democracy that we hold so dear. And one of those is that we have free and fair elections … I kind of want that to endure beyond just one election cycle.”
In the immediate aftermath of the January 6 riot, McConnell had harsh words for then President Trump, calling him “morally responsible” for the melee, though he didn’t vote to convict Trump at his impeachment trial. (Murkowski was one of seven GOP senators who did.) But McConnell has made it a personal mission to block further investigation. CNN reported on Thursday that he had asked senators to block the commission as a “personal favor.”
Murkowski herself faces election next year, but thanks to her well-established brand in Alaska politics, plus the state’s unusual election rules, she is as insulated from intraparty attack as any Republican.
Only a few Senate Republicans are expected to vote for the commission. The bill will die without 60 votes, thanks to the venerable filibuster that certain Democratic senators, foremost among them West Virginia’s Joe Manchin, currently have no interest in doing away with. Manchin said in a statement on Thursday, “There is no excuse for any Republican to vote against this commission.”