United States Senate Republicans Friday blocked the creation of an independent bipartisan panel to investigate the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol carried out by former U.S. President Donald Trump's far-right supporters.
The 54-35 procedural vote fell six votes short of the 60-vote threshold to advance the bill in the chamber after it cleared the House of Representatives earlier in May. Republicans Bill Cassidy, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Rob Portman, Mitt Romney and Ben Sasse joined the Democrats in voting for the bill.
In all, 10 Republicans and one Democrat did not vote.
Trump, who called the insurrectionists "great patriots" during the insurrection, warned his fellow Republicans that the panel was a "Democrat trap." Friday's vote signals his continuing hold over the party even after he lost November's national election by over 7 million votes.
Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer assailed Republicans, saying "Donald Trump's Big Lie has now fully enveloped the Republican Party."
It "is now the defining principle of what was once the party of Lincoln," he added on Twitter.
The top Democrat was referring to Trump's repeated unsubstantiated claims that he lost the election due to widespread voter fraud, a suggestion Republican election officials in key battleground states and his former attorney general said lacks evidence.
The claims motivated Trump's supporters to overrun the Capitol Jan. 6 when lawmakers were convening to carry out a constitutionally-mandated step ahead of US President Joe Biden's inauguration.
The U.S. House of Representatives recently approved $1.9 billion to fortify the Capitol.
Angry supporters of the former U.S. president stormed the U.S. Capitol Jan. 6 in a chaotic protest aimed at thwarting a peaceful transfer of power, forcing lawmakers to be rushed from the building and interrupting challenges to Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory.
Trump issued a restrained call for peace well after the melee was underway but did not urge supporters to disperse. Earlier he had egged them on to march to Capitol Hill.
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