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Rep. Christopher Smith (R-Hamilton). Photo courtesy of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Chris Smith on the National Commission to Investigate the January 6th Attack

By Congressman Christopher H. Smith, May 19 2021 10:22 pm

OPINION

The chairman and ranking member of the House Homeland Security Committee have negotiated in good faith over several weeks a bipartisan bill—H.R. 3233—to establish a ten-member national commission to investigate the January 6th attack on the Capitol.

If enacted into law, both the Republican and Democrat leaders would each select five commissioners who would be tasked with investigating the “facts and causes” of the attack.

The Commission may issue subpoenas, but subpoenas may only be issued by agreement between the Chair and Vice Chairperson of the Commission—one Democrat and one Republican—or by the vote of a majority of the members of the Commission.

Any interim report, or the final report—which must be submitted to the President and Congress no later than December 31, 2021—must be agreed to by a majority of Commission members.

According to the text of H.R. 3233, the final report should include “findings, conclusions, and recommendations,  which may include changes in law, policy, procedures, rules, or regulations, to improve the detection, prevention, preparedness for, and response to targeted violence and domestic terrorism and improve the security posture of the United States Capitol Complex and ensure the security of Members of Congress and staff.”

The attack on January 6 resulted in a tragic loss of life and physical injury.  140 Capitol and DC police officers were injured on January 6th, including 15 who were hospitalized. Three police officers later died—including a brave Capitol police officer from New Jersey, Brian Sicknick, who died of a stroke on January 7th and two other officers died by suicide. Four rioters died—one was shot by police.

It is my hope that the Commission will establish the truth and provide a way forward to ensure that such an attack never happens again.

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