NJ congressman one of few Republicans supporting Jan. 6 Capitol riot commission
WASHINGTON — A congressman from New Jersey was one of 35 House Republicans to vote Wednesday in favor of an independent, 10 member commission to investigate the Capitol riot of Jan. 6.
The bill passed the House 252-175 sending the legislation to an uncertain future in the Senate as Republican leaders work to stop a bipartisan investigation that is opposed by former President Donald Trump.
U.S. Rep. Chris Smith, a conservative who has represented New Jersey's 4th Congressional District for 40 years, said he hoped the "Commission will establish the truth and provide a way forward to ensure that such an attack never happens again."
"The attack on January 6 resulted in a tragic loss of life and physical injury. 140 Capitol and DC police officers were injured on January 6th, including 15 who were hospitalized. Three police officers later died—including a brave Capitol police officer from New Jersey, Brian Sicknick, who died of stroke on January 7th and two other officers died by suicide. Four rioters died—one was shot by police," Smith said in a statement.
The commission will be able to issue subpoenas by agreement between the chairman and vice chairman, a Democrat and Republican. Subpoenas may also be issued by the vote of a majority of the members of the commission.
The rest of the House delegation from New Jersey voted for the commission except for Republican Jeff Van Drew of the 2nd District.
U.S. Rep. Mikie Sherrill, D-N.J. 11th District, spoke on the House floor in favor of the commission and described how she was lying on the floor of the House chamber holding a gas mask and a phone to call her husband in case she did not make it out.
"We need this commission because despite our own experiences, despite video footage, despite testimony by police it has been suggested that this was a normal tourism event," Sherill said. "Well, we have a lot of tourism where I'm from. People visit our beautiful shore and historic sites and no tourist event I have ever seen looks like that day."
Former New Jersey Gov. Tom Kean, who co-chaired the 9/11 Commission, issued a statement with co-chair former U.S. Rep. Lee Hamilton urging Congress to support the creation of a Jan. 6 Commission.
"The January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol was one of the darkest days in our history. Americans deserve an objective and accurate account of what happened. As we did in the wake of September 11, it is time to set aside partisan politics and come together as Americans in common pursuit of truth and justice," they wrote.
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