Rep. Bryan Steil said he voted against a commission to investigate the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol because it wasn’t necessary.

“There are numerous ongoing federal investigations, including within the U.S. Department of Justice, which has already resulted in over 400 criminals being charged, as well as a bipartisan Senate committee investigation whose report is due out in the coming weeks,” the Janesville Republican said in an emailed response to a Gazette question.

“Speaker (Nancy) Pelosi’s proposal is duplicative and is a means to distract from critical issues such as rising prices, workforce needs and violence in the Middle East,” Steil said.

Thirty-five Republicans voted for the commission Wednesday, but most Republicans voted against, including all the Wisconsin Republicans.

The Democratic-run House approved the measure 252-175 and sent it to the Senate, where Democrats face an uphill battle to garner at least 10 Republican “yes” votes they will need to prevail.

The bill was a compromise worked out by a New York Republican, Rep. John Katko, and Homeland Security Committee Chairperson Bennie Thompson, D-Miss.

The measure would create a 10-member commission to investigate the riot with five members appointed by each party. It would report by year’s end.

Steil on Thursday did not respond to a Gazette reporter’s follow-up question asking whether he agrees that the Capitol riot was an attempt to thwart or reverse the legal election of President Joe Biden.

Steil on Jan. 6 condemned what he called “the reprehensible actions of criminals inside the U.S. Capitol.”

Steil has defended former President Donald Trump since his election loss in November and spoke against Trump’s eventual impeachment.

The other representative for Rock County, Mark Pocan, a Democrat, tweeted about the commission Tuesday in advance of the vote.

Pocan was responding to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s opposition to the bill, in which McCarthy said a commission should also study related “forms of political violence in America.”

Pocan wrote: “McCarthy is peeing his pants over getting a subpoena to testify about what Trump said to him on January 6. Love to have a lie detector attached to him when he does.”

Material from the Associated Press was used in this story.


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