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GOP House leaders reject Katko’s ‘solid, fair’ agreement on Jan. 6 commission

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Central New York Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus), the top-ranking Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee, said he is confident he negotiated a fair agreement to create a bipartisan commission to investigate the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol Building. This comes after the Republican minority leader in the House, Kevin McCarthy, came out against the commission Tuesday. House Republican Whip Steve Scalise also urged his conference to oppose the legislation, scheduled for a vote on Wednesday.

Katko negotiated with the Democratic chair of the committee and reached an agreement last week. In a statement, Katko said he recognizes there are differing views on the issue, but he feels “a deep obligation to get the answers” about how and why the attack occurred.

McCarthy said there are already investigations in Senate committees, there have been hundreds of arrests related to the attack, and the commission wouldn't investigate other instances of political violence. 

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) said McCarthy’s opposition shows how difficult it is to negotiate with Republicans.

“If the Republican leaders are just going to throw their lead negotiators under the bus, why do they even participate in negotiations at all?” Schumer said.

The commission is expected to pass the House. Schumer said he will put it up for a vote in the Senate, where he needs at least 10 Republicans to vote in favor of it for it to pass. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Senate Republicans are undecided.

Read Katko’s full statement below.

"I am confident Chairman 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. 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."

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.