Roy Blount: Biden Infrastructure Bill Could Pass if More Narrowly Focused

Sen. Roy Blunt listens during a confirmation hearing in Washington, D.C., January 21, 2021.
(Stefani Reynolds/Reuters)

Senator Roy Blunt (R., Mo.) on Sunday claimed it is “too early” to form a bipartisan commission to investigate the events of the Capitol riot on January 6. 

“I think it’s too early to create a commission, and I believe Republicans in the Senate will decide that it’s too early to create that commission,” Blunt said during an appearance on Fox News Sunday.

“Commissions often don’t work at all and when they do work, like the Simpson-Bowles commission, produced a good result, nothing happened as part of that result,” he added.

The senior senator from Missouri noted that the 9/11 Commission was created roughly 14 months after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. He said it would take several months for a similar January 6 commission to be created.

Blunt’s comments come after the Democrat-controlled House last week passed legislation for a bipartisan commission. Thirty-five Republicans joined Democrats in backing the bill.

“I’ve actually opposed the idea of a commission immediately from the very first because I think we’ll start waiting for a commission rather than moving forward with what we know we need to do now,” Blunt said.

He noted that there is a bipartisan effort in the Senate with two committees to produce a report and issue a number of recommendations in early June.

“We haven’t even waited for that to decide what a commission should do,” he said. 

Earlier this week, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) said that he would not support the legislation to form the commission.

“After careful consideration, I’ve made the decision to oppose the House Democrats’ slanted and unbalanced proposal for another commission to study the events of January the 6th,” McConnell said on the Senate floor on Wednesday.

The GOP leader’s opposition came after he told reporters on Tuesday that Senate Republicans were “undecided” about the commission and that they wanted to “read the fine print.”

“If it’s gonna go forward, it needs to be clearly balanced and not tilted one way or the other so we have an objective evaluation,” he said.

On Tuesday, McConnell expressed two concerns: that the commission could get in the way of existing federal prosecutions of rioters and that the commission, as proposed, would appear to grant the Democrat-chosen chairman the authority to hire and fire its staff.

Now that McConnell has come out against the legislation, it is more likely that other Republican senators will follow suit and block the bill from advancing. It will need to clear a 60-vote threshold in the evenly divided Senate to move forward.

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