NBC Montana: Tester, Daines split on Jan. 6 commission votes

by Maritsa Georgiou

Senate Republicans blocked the creation of a bipartisan committee to investigate the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol siege, with a 54-35 vote, six votes short of what was needed for it to pass. Montana’s U.S. senators split on the vote.

Democratic Sen. Jon Tester voted for the commission.

“The January 6th insurrection was a deadly attack on our democracy by domestic terrorists, and has absolutely no place in America,” Tester said in an emailed statement. “Establishing a nonpartisan 9/11-style commission to get to the bottom of what happened should have been a no brainer. I am deeply disappointed in my colleagues for choosing their own political interest over investigating what led to that day’s horrific events. We must hold the terrorists who attacked the Capitol-and those who enabled and incited them-accountable for their actions, and make sure such an ugly stain on our democracy never happens again.”

Republican Sen. Steve Daines condemned the Jan. 6 attach but voted against the commission Friday.

“Sen. Daines believes January 6th was a sad day for our country and he condemns the violence that occurred. He believes all those who took part should be held accountable and supports the ongoing law enforcement investigations,” a spokesperson for Daines said.

“Currently, there are bipartisan investigations led by Senate Committees looking into what happened on January 6th including flaws in the U.S. Capitol security-the Senator supports those efforts. With that said, the Senator does not support the proposed January 6th commission because it is duplicative of work already being done in a bipartisan manner in the Senate and elsewhere. The Senator is also concerned that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other partisan advocates of the proposed commission want to use it for political gain, which would only distract from the bipartisan and independent investigations that are already occurring,” the spokesperson continued.

NBC Montana asked which investigations are ongoing. A Daines spokesperson said the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and the Committee on Rules and Administration are conducting a joint bipartisan investigations.

Sen. Gary Peters, who chairs the HSGAC, says that joint investigation is primarily focused on security needs and is not a comprehensive look into the Jan. 6 attack and what led to it.