Sarbanes Votes to Establish Independent January 6 Commission and Fund U.S. Capitol Security Improvements

May 20, 2021
CONTACT: Daniel Jacobs
(202) 225-4016

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman John Sarbanes (D-Md.) voted to create an independent commission to investigate the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol (H.R. 3233).

The Congressman also voted to pass the Emergency Security Supplemental to Respond to January 6th Appropriations Act (H.R. 3237), a bill to fund security improvements at the U.S. Capitol.

“Establishing an independent January 6 Commission is a patriotic undertaking that will provide a complete, detailed and objective account of the worst attack on the U.S. Capitol since the War of 1812,” said Congressman Sarbanes, who recently urged Congressional Republicans to join Democrats in creating the investigative body. “The Commission will not only uncover what happened on January 6, but also examine the circumstances that fueled and abetted the attack. The recommendations that the Commission puts forward at the end of the year will help us prevent future assaults on our democratic institutions.”

Congressman Sarbanes added: “Importantly, we also voted to authorize critical emergency resources that will harden U.S. Capitol security and protect our democracy.”

Key facts about the January 6 Commission:

  • Bipartisan Origins: The Commission’s mission and makeup was established in a bipartisan agreement between the House Homeland Security Chair Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and Ranking Member John Katko (R-N.Y.).
  • Equal Membership: Ten members will be appointed to the Commission. Five members will be appointment by Democrats. Five members will be appointed by Republicans. Appointees cannot currently work for the government.
    • The chair will be appointed jointly by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Schumer (D-N.Y.).
    • The vice chair will be appointed jointly by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (D-Calif), who voted against the commission, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
    • Two members will be appointed by Speaker Pelosi.
    • Two members will be appointed by Minority Leader McCarthy.
    • Two members will be appointed by Majority Leader Schumer.
    • Two members will be appointed by Minority Leader McConnell.
  • Duties and Functions: The Commission will examine the events surrounding the January 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol and report its finding by December 31, 2021. This includes:
    • Holding public hearings to receive evidence and testimony under oath and issuing subpoenas to compel relevant information.
    • Examining the intelligence-gathering and information-sharing efforts of American intelligence agencies, law enforcement organizations and military officials in the days, weeks and months leading up to the attack.
    • Investigating the role of online platforms in financing and helping execute the attack.
    • Assessing evidence of domestic terrorism linked to the attack.
    • Building on the investigations already underway or completed by other federal, congressional or independent entities in order to avoid duplicate recommendations and conclusions.
    • Presenting recommendations to the President of the United States and to Congress about how to prevent future attacks on the U.S. Capitol, while maintaining sufficient public access.

See here for more information about the Emergency Security Supplemental to Respond to January 6th Appropriations Act.