Partisan disputes delay sweeping China tech bill in U.S. Senate

Darnell Taylor
May 29, 2021

As expected, Senate Republicans used the power of the filibuster to block consideration of the bill to create a bipartisan commission to investigate the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol. He said Republican senators "feared that anything that might upset Donald Trump could hurt them politically".

After Brian Sicknick's family met with lawmakers, Mitch McConnell (who reportedly would not see them, scheduling the meeting for his aides instead) seemed to be anxious his colleagues might actually do the right thing and asked Republicans to vote against the commission as a "personal favor" to him. The vote was 54-35 in favor, with six Republicans joining Democrats in support. With the Senate split 50-50, Democrats will need the support of 10 Republicans to move most bills.

This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below. It was the first successful use of a filibuster during the Biden presidency to stop Senate legislative action.

Collins said Democrats would now likely move forward with their own select committee to investigate the attack and that the results of that investigation would lack credibility with Republicans, although it would still likely garner widespread national attention, "because it will be the only investigation going on and the press will treat it as if it is an independent outside commission, which it will not be".

Senate Democrats have been under pressure from activists on the left to scrap the chamber's longstanding supermajority rule, but have so far declined to do so.

The bill headed for a vote, the For the People Act, is vast, tackling a range of interrelated issues that Democrats say will protect the vote and curb special interests.

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That was unlikely because many Republican senators remain loyal to Trump and followed the guidance of Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, who opposed the commission.

But Republicans are also concerned that a commission, modeled on one that probed the September 11, 2001, attacks, would focus attention on the violence and on Trump's persistent false claims about the 2020 election well into next year's midterm congressional election campaigns.

Immediately after the defeat, Senate leader Chuck Schumer set a June vote on another important priority.

The stunning GOP rebuke of the proposed bipartisan commission on the Capitol riot, on a 54-35 vote, accelerated the argument, showing Democrats - and perhaps the broader public - how intense partisan loyalties are likely to make it hard for Biden's party to strike bipartisan compromises on elections reforms, infrastructure or other parts of his agenda.

She had a tense exchange with Schumer during Friday's vote and Republican colleague Mitt Romney said she had been disappointed the Democratic leader hadn't voiced support for her amendments during his floor speech. But I guess that's why I'm not a Republican senator!

Manchin told reporters at the Houses of Parliament that his opposition to the committee on January 6 was "disappointing".

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