This story has been updated with Sen. Marco Rubio’s latest position.
More and more Senate Republicans are coming out against a bipartisan congressional commission to investigate the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. Florida’s two senators are among them.
Sen. Rick Scott told Spectrum News on Thursday he “completely” opposes the creation of the commission because he said it would become politicized.
“The FBI is doing their job,” Scott said. “They have already arrested people for breaking into the Capitol. What people did that day — I was here — is despicable. They need to be held accountable, the FBI is doing their job. We don’t need a commission where people will act in a partisan manner.”
He added: “What value are they going to add?”
While the FBI has investigated individuals and groups involved in the planning and execution of the violent attack on Congress, the commission would dig deeper into failures of the country’s intelligence and law enforcement agencies to prevent the attempted insurrection. The commission would also have subpoena power to investigate the factors that influenced the rioters and would be tasked with providing recommendations to prevent future acts of domestic terrorism.
Thirty-five Republicans, including two from Florida, joined House Democrats to pass a bill Wednesday to create the commission, which was negotiated for months with input from GOP lawmakers. The compromise legislation would have equal representation from both parties on a 10-member panel.
The bill has faced fierce criticism from former President Donald Trump, who was impeached by the House in January for inciting the attack. Most Republicans have chosen to side with Trump and against the creation of a commission modeled after a similar panel that convened after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attack.
More than 400 people in 40 states have been arrested in the federal investigation into the Jan. 6 attack, according to a USA Today tally. Four protesters died amid the violence and about 140 officers from the Capitol Police and Metropolitan Police Department in Washington were injured by the mob, some while trying to protect members of Congress and Vice President Mike Pence after the building was breached.
Scott was one of seven Republican senators to vote against certifying the 2020 election results just hours after the attack ended. Scott said he was troubled by late changes in election rules in Pennsylvania to accommodate for the large influx of mail-in ballots amid the pandemic.
Florida’s other senator, Marco Rubio, initially didn’t rule out supporting the Jan. 6 commission. Unlike Scott, Rubio did not vote against certification of the election results.
On Monday, Rubio told the Dispatch, a conservative-leaning publication, that, “if we can have a serious examination of the events leading up to, occurring, and in the aftermath of that day, we should do it.” Rubio, though, acknowledged, “I haven’t even read” the House bill. As the Dispatch noted, Congress has spent four months negotiating the parameters of the commission and the details of the bill were available for a week.
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But on Friday, Rubio tweeted that he read the legislation and concluded the bipartisan agreement was “designed to be used as partisan political weapon.”
“We already know what happened Jan. 6. It was a horrifying day,” Rubio said in a video.
A vote on the Jan. 6 commission could come as soon as next week. It would take 10 Republicans bucking leadership and joining all 50 Democratic senators to end debate and force a final vote on the bill.