The House is expected to vote next week on legislation aimed at preventing more attacks on the U.S. Capitol, seeking to establish a 9/11-style commission to study what went wrong on Jan. 6 while allocating $1.9 billion to address the security problems revealed by the insurrection.

What You Need To Know

  • Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., and John Katko, R-N.Y., announced Friday they have reached a deal to propose a bill to create a 10-member, 9/11-style commission to investigate the Capitol riot

  • The panel would include five members appointed by Democrats and five chosen by Republicans

  • The panel will examine the facts and circumstances surrounding the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol as well as influencing factors that might have provoke the attack

  • The commissioners would have subpoena power and would be given a Dec. 31 deadline to submit their report to Congress

The top Democrat and the top Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee on Friday unveiled their plan to form the commission after weeks of delicate negotiations. Modeled after the revered investigation into the 9/11 terrorist attacks, their bill would establish an independent 10-member commission, evenly divided between the two parties, that would have subpoena power and an end-of-year deadline for completing its work.

Efforts to stand up the commission had previously stalled amid partisan differences, with Republicans — including Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell — arguing that its scope should be widened to look at violence in cities around the country in the past year in reaction to the killing of George Floyd while in police custody. But the new bill appeared to be a breakthrough after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the legislation must be bipartisan.

The emergency spending bill was also released Friday, a product of months of reviews about what is needed to “harden” security at the Capitol after the violent mob of former President Donald Trump’s supporters pushed past police officers and broke through windows and doors on Jan. 6. That legislation would include money for new retractable fencing around the building, added training and resources for the Capitol Police, and better security for members of Congress, among other measures.

Pelosi said that protecting the Capitol and the people who work inside it is of “the highest priority,” and that a commission is imperative “to examine and report upon the facts, causes and security relating to the terrorist mob attack.”

While both bills are expected to pass the House, it’s unclear how much Republican support they would receive. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Friday he had not read the details of the Jan. 6 commission bill and did not signal whether he would support it. In a letter to Pelosi earlier this week, McCarthy said that any panel should not have “any predetermined conclusions or findings” and suggested that money for security should wait until after the commission issues a report.

The insurrection is an increasingly fraught subject in the House GOP conference. While almost every Republican member condemned the violent mob that day, and many criticized Trump for his role in egging them on, a growing number of them have downplayed the attack as time has passed. At a House hearing this week investigating the siege, one member denied there was an insurrection at all while another said a woman who was shot and killed by police while trying to break into the House chamber was “executed.” Many other Republicans have tried to change the subject, saying Democrats should focus on the violence in cities instead.

The bill’s path forward is uncertain in the 50-50 Senate, where Republicans have been quiet on the commission in recent weeks. McConnell objected to an initial proposal by Pelosi that would have included more Democrats than Republicans on the panel, and said the scope should be widened to investigate the rioting in cities. But he has not spoken about it since Pelosi endorsed the new language that would make the commission an even partisan split.

House Democrats negotiated the bill with Republican John Katko of New York, who was one of 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Trump after the insurrection for telling his supporters that day to “fight like hell” to overturn his defeat.

The legislation does have one other prominent GOP supporter: Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, who was kicked out of House GOP leadership this week for calling out Trump for his false claims that the election was stolen from him. Cheney also voted to impeach Trump.

Hours after being ousted by fellow Republicans from her leadership position Wednesday, Cheney told the “Today” show’s Savannah Guthrie that she endorsed the formation of a bipartisan commission to examine the Capitol attack, adding there was “real concern among a number of members of my own party about a Jan. 6 commission.”

“I’ve been very public that that commission needs to be bipartisan,” she said. “It needs to look only at Jan. 6 and the events leading up to it, not at the BLM (Black Lives Matter) and antifa riots last summer. I think that that kind of intense, narrow focus threatens people in my party who may have been playing a role they should not have been playing.”

Cheney said she did not want to go so far as to suggest there were members of Congress complicit in the attack, but added that “every time we have something happen in this country that is that kind of a crisis, we have a commission. And there is no reason why there should be any resistance to doing so in this case."

Asked Friday by Spectrum News’s Samantha-Jo Roth about the formation of the Jan. 6 commission, Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., who was elected Friday to Cheney’s former position as Republican House Conference chair, made clear that she “unilaterally condemned” the actions and called for those involved to be held accountable.

But, she said, “I don’t know that that’s a congressional issue.”

Like the 9/11 Commission that investigated the terrorist attacks on the U.S., the Jan. 6 commission would be granted authority to issue subpoenas to obtain information, requiring the bipartisan agreement of both the chair and vice chair of the commission, or through a majority vote. The commission would be charged with issuing a final report by Dec. 31, along with recommendations to prevent future attacks.

The security spending bill would seek to make security improvements in the meantime, creating a quick-reaction force that could respond quickly in the event of an attack. National Guard troops were delayed for hours on Jan. 6 as police were beaten and overwhelmed by the rioters who broke in.

The bill includes money for new fencing — either retractable or “pop in,” according to Democrats — that would protect the grounds while removing the dark black fence that has surrounded the Capitol since Jan. 6. The legislation says that the money cannot be used to install permanent aboveground fencing, reflecting the wishes of most members of Congress that the area should be open to the public.

Other improvements would be to better secure windows and doors, install new security vestibules and cameras, and protect members with increased security at home and in Washington. There is also money to protect federal judges who are prosecuting the rioters and have received threats.

The legislation renames a wellness program for Capitol Police as the Howard C. “Howie” Liebengood Center for Wellness and adds mental health counselors and resilience specialists for trauma support. Liebengood was a Capitol Police officer who took his own life shortly after the attack.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.