On Jan. 6, insurrectionists stormed the U.S. Capitol and sent lawmakers fleeing in fear for their lives. The fight between law enforcement and the attackers left many injured and nearly 500 people facing criminal charges.
The events that day made Americans question how it had come to this, why the seat of government had such weak defenses and what could be done to prevent this from happening again.
Americans deserve answers.
Though federal lawmakers began hearings to try to determine what happened, they quickly became mired in partisan politics.
Some lawmakers even began to deny that anything more than a little scuffle and a few harsh words erupted on the Capitol steps that day—despite reams of video evidence to the contrary.
Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle met to find a way to keep any investigation from falling into disarray. The result was a bill that would set up an independent bipartisan commission to investigate and issue a report.
The commission would consist of five Democrats and five Republicans, none currently in office. The bill would extricate the matter from the political fires that often disrupt and destroy the work of lawmakers in this polarized age.
The House passed the bill in a bi-partisan 252-175 vote last week. It’s now stalled in the Senate.
Congressman Mike Simpson delivered a bit of Idaho sunshine to the stormy issue with his vote to convene the commission.
His vote was a surprise given that Idaho checked the box for former President Trump with 64% of the vote in the 2020 election and that Trump vocally opposed the commission.
Simpson was one of just 35 House Republicans who joined Democrats to approve it. There are 213 Republicans in the House. His North Idaho counterpart, Congressman Russ Fulcher, opposed it.
Simpson could have fallen in line with supporters of former President Trump.
He could have used the excuse that Democrats in the Senate wouldn’t be able to muster the 10 Republican votes they need to approve it so it wouldn’t be worth the political price he might pay.
He could have muddled around weakly like other Republicans who said the commission’s mission wasn’t broad enough.
He could have wilted knowing that Trump’s rebuke of the 35 members of Congress would come, which it did.
But Simpson didn’t fold.
He’s been silent since the vote, but we won’t be. Good vote, Congressman. It was nice to see a spark of unbowed independence coming out of the Gem State.
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