- Sen. Marco Rubio voiced his opposition to legislation that would create a bipartisan January 6 commission.
- Rubio said that existing investigations are already uncovering much of what happened that day.
- GOP leaders Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy have also come out against the proposal.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
GOP Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida on Friday announced his opposition to an independent commission that would investigate the January 6 Capitol riot, calling it “a partisan joke.”
Legislation for a bipartisan commission, which would probe the deadly insurrection, is currently “designed” to hurt Republicans, Rubio said.
“There’s no cover-up here,” he said in a video posted on Twitter. “We already know what happened on January 6. It was a horrifying day. It’s something that should never happen again.”
He added: “We’re going to learn even more about what happened that day. Why? The Justice Department, as they should, is trying to prosecute and put in jail hundreds of people responsible for what happened that day.”
Rubio then said that congressional hearings have already revealed a lot about what happened on January 6, in addition to what he said was continuous media attention on the riot.
“There’s plenty of attention being paid to this,” he said. “Not to mention that the media doesn’t stop talking about it. They’re also looking at it.”
As the two-term senator then explained, the language for a commission mandates that Democrats and Republicans on the evenly divided panel have to agree in order to issue a subpoena.
He contended that Democrats could use such a stipulation to put “a story out there saying” that a Democrat wants to subpoena an individual “but they can’t because Republicans are blocking it.”
“This is about damaging Republicans,” he said. “It’s about keeping the House majority in 2022 and winning elections and keeping this in the headlines.”
He added: “This is a partisan joke.”
The House passed the bill to establish the commission in a 252-175 vote, with thirty-five Republicans joining all 217 Democrats in supporting the bill.
Earlier this week, former President Donald Trump released a statement telling GOP lawmakers to oppose the legislation, specifically calling on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California.
“Republicans in the House and Senate should not approve the Democrat trap of the January 6 Commission,” he wrote. “Republicans must get much tougher and much smarter, and stop being used by the Radical Left. Hopefully, Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy are listening!”
McCarthy has expressed his opposition to the legislation, and McConnell came out against the bill this week, calling it a “slanted and unbalanced proposal.”
With McConnell’s disapproval of the bill on record, it now faces a difficult road in the Senate, where Democrats must secure 10 GOP votes to overcome a legislative filibuster.
Republicans like Rubio and Minority Whip John Thune of South Dakota are now largely rallying around the idea of a commission being used as a political football.
Thune recently told CNN that a January 6 commission could undermine Republican messaging as the party heads into the midterm elections.
“I want our midterm message to be on the kinds of things that the American people are dealing with: That’s jobs and wages and the economy and national security, safe streets and strong borders – not relitigating the 2020 elections,” he said. “A lot of our members, and I think this is true of a lot of House Republicans, want to be moving forward and not looking backward.”
Rubio is up for reelection in 2022 and could potentially face Democratic Rep. Val Demings, a former Orlando police chief and former Trump impeachment manager who is set to enter the race in the coming weeks.