(WASHINGTON) -- House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy on Tuesday broke his silence on the bipartisan Jan. 6 commission proposal negotiated by one of his key lieutenants, saying in a new statement that a new commission would be "duplicative" of federal law enforcement efforts and "potentially counterproductive."
While the proposed panel would give both parties equal representation in appointees to the commission and require bipartisan agreement for subpoenas, McCarthy said he wants the effort to expressly include a review of "political violence" in American cities last summer amid racial justice protests.
But Rep. John Katko, R-N.Y., said the panel could decide to investigate or review such episodes if the appointees agreed to do so, even if not explicitly stated in the legislation.
Earlier this month, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi deputized House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., to finalize negotiations on the commission with Katko, the ranking GOP member.
Katko said in a statement Tuesday that the bill was a "dramatic improvement" over prior legislation.
"I am confident Chairman [Rep. Bennie] Thompson and I negotiated a solid, fair agreement that is a dramatic improvement over previous proposals that sought to politicize a security review of the Capitol," the statement said. "I recognize there are differing views on this issue, which is an inherent part of the legislative process and not something I take personally. However, as the Republican Leader of the Homeland Security Committee, I feel a deep obligation to get the answers U.S. Capitol Police and Americans deserve and ensure an attack on the heart of our democracy never happens again."
At a House Rules Committee Hearing on Tuesday, Thompson said he and Katko weren't trying to play gotcha with the commission and that they "entertained Republican leadership" as they made changes to the bill.
"We have the numbers to pass it without a single Republican -- that doesn't get us to where we need to be. And so the Minority Leaders' effort to, I think, sabotage the whole effort is disingenuous because those of us who negotiate in good faith," Thompson said.
McCarthy’s statement comes after Rep. Liz Cheney suggested in an interview with ABC News that he testify before any commission regarding his conversations with Trump on Jan. 6 and attempts by several conservatives to whitewash the events of that day.
The bill is expected on the floor this week and can still pass without GOP votes. But McCarthy’s opposition could give cover to more Republicans in the House and Senate to oppose the proposal and try to depict it as partisan.
"Given the political misdirections that have marred this process, given the now duplicative and potentially counterproductive nature of this effort, and given the Speaker’s shortsighted scope that does not examine interrelated forms of political violence in America, I cannot support this legislation," McCarthy said in a statement.
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