Florida lawmakers speak out after GOP blocks Capitol riot probe

GOP senators, from left, Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., Sen. Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., talk to reporters as the Senate tries to finish to its work going into the Memorial Day recess, at the Capitol in Washington, Friday, May 28, 2021. Republican leaders are insisting they will block a commission on the Jan. 6 insurrection by a mob loyal to former President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) (J. Scott Applewhite, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Following the Capitol Riot in Washington, Senate Republicans on Friday blocked the formation of an independent commission to investigate what happened on Jan. 6.

While the commission would have been bipartisan, the vote Friday clearly was not. 54 Senators voted in favor, but the bill needed 60 votes to pass.

That means the Senate blocked a House-passed bill that would have formed a bipartisan, 10-member commission looking into the deadly Capitol riot.

Democrats blame the former president.

”Donald Trump has perpetrated the big lie, and this goes way beyond party. And I’m just terribly disappointed that so many Republicans refused to even look at a bipartisan, down the middle, look at it because they’re afraid of Donald Trump,” said Chuck Schumer, Democratic Senate Majority Leader.

News4Jax reached out to members of Congress representing our area.

Senator Marco Rubio’s office pointed us to a statement he made on Twitter.

“It’s not evenly divided because the chairman of this commission has the power to hire all the senior staff, and has special powers to overrule decisions made by the other side and the vice-chair. This is a partisan joke,” Rubio wrote.

Senator Rick Scott and Rubio are both Republicans from Florida.

Scott offered this statement: “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.”

News4Jax also reached out to U.S. Representatives in our area.

“Instead of focusing on fact-finding, I fear Nancy Pelosi’s January 6th Commission will be nothing more than a political cudgel to use on Republicans, as Democrats desperately seek to hold on to their slim majority in the House. I refuse to take part in that. I voted NO on this political and misguided commission,” said Jacksonville Congressman John Rutherford, who called the attack on the capitol a national disgrace.

Buddy Carter, a U.S. Representative for Georgia’s 1st congressional district, also weighed in.

“I have already condemned what happened on January 6th and I support a full investigation by police. The investigation by law enforcement should include the horrible events on January 6th, and other events like when my good friend Steve Scalise was shot on a baseball field. What I do not support is a partisan investigation in Congress led by Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer. We need real answers about January 6th, not a commission playing political games,” Carter wrote in a statement to News4Jax.

While six Republican Senators voted “yes” on the bill, nine Senators did not vote at all and 35 Republican Senators voted “no.”

Louisiana’s Bill Cassidy voted yes and he also voted to impeach former President Trump.

The Republican warned his colleagues they will now lose a voice in future investigations.

“The investigations will happen with or without Republicans. To ensure the investigations are fair, impartial, and focused on facts, Republicans need to be involved,” Cassidy said.

News4Jax did not hear back from other members of Congress from our area.

About the Author:

Kent Justice co-anchors News4Jax's 5 p.m., 10 and 11 p.m. newscasts weeknights and reports on government and politics. He also hosts "This Week in Jacksonville," Channel 4's hot topics and politics public affairs show each Sunday morning at 9 a.m.