The vote totals
The vote was 54 in favor of moving forward with the commission to 35 against. Of course, under Senate rules, the 35 wins the vote:
Senator Capito explains her "no" vote
From WV Metro News:
Capito told reporters Thursday she would oppose the legislation, noting active congressional investigations related to security at the Capitol building.
“I do believe, unfortunately, that the commission has been politicized and that Democrats would pick the staff,” she said. “I think that’s problematic from my point of view, and I don’t know that the investigation would ever end.”
Capito is apparently following her script. Even as the Associated Press, among others, said otherwise:
Republicans have tried to paint the commission as partisan, even though the bill passed by the House would give Republicans and Democrats an equal number of members. House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, who opposed the legislation, has called it “the Pelosi commission,” after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
In fact, the bill is the product of bipartisan negotiations by House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., and the top Republican on that panel, New York Rep. John Katko.
“Of course they can hire staff,” Pelosi said of the Republican commissioners. “That’s never even been a question.”
More specifically, on staffing – here is the Washington Post’s fact checker citing that same Congressman Katko:
Katko, a former federal prosecutor, said in a floor speech Wednesday that “this legislation is modeled directly on the legislation that created the 9/11 Commission” and that claims that Democrats would choose all staff members were “simply not true.”
“Another charge I heard was that the commission could be controlled by partisan staff hired unilaterally by the commission chair,” he said. “That is simply not true. Here’s what the bill does: It requires consultation between the chair, appointed by the Democrats, and the vice chair, appointed by the Republicans, for any hiring of staff, and further requires that it be in accordance with rules agreed upon by the commission. The commission creates rules as a team, then they then hire as a team.”
Remember, this is a Republican saying this. And this is West Virginia media allowing Senator Capito to say whatever she wants about the staffing. It won’t end there: the senator will likely be on Hoppy Kercheval’s talk show sometime next week and make the same assertion. Kercheval will then move on with no pushback.
As far as “the investigation would never end”: there were over 30 congressional investigations of Benghazi, Senator. Did you speak up about that?
If you are interested, Senator Shelley will be on Sunday morning television. Guess which network? Unless it is Chris Wallace interviewing her, look for nothing but softballs.
A different interpretation
Finally, if you think all is lost, here is a different take and an optimistic conclusion on what happened yesterday from a popular liberal blog, the Palmer Report:
From the start of the 2021 session, Palmer Report has pointed out that Joe Manchin has merely been posturing when it comes to the filibuster, and that he was merely waiting until he had cover before finally “reluctantly” coming out in support of exempting important legislation from the filibuster. Sure enough, that now appears to be playing out in real time.
To understand this, you first have to understand that the Democrats were hoping the Republicans would be stupid enough to kill the bipartisan 1/6 commission – which is what ended up happening yesterday. This now gives the Democrats cover to appoint a 1/6 select committee, which will give them more investigative power, while hitting the Republicans for blocking bipartisanship.
It also gave Joe Manchin cover to come out swinging at Senate Republicans for abusing the filibuster in such unpopular and unpatriotic fashion – which is what Manchin did yesterday. Now, even as Manchin is finally ranting and raving about how obstructionist Senate Republicans are, Chuck Schumer has suddenly scheduled a vote on the HR1/S1 voting rights reform act for next month. This likely isn’t coincidence.
Palmer goes on from there. I’m not sure that I buy his premise, but it certainly is an interesting explanation for what has happened.