“There are two actual paths,” Pelosi added, for the committee’s work. “One is about the root causes of it—the white supremacy, the antisemitism, the Islamophobia, all the rest of it that was so evident. […] The other is the security of the Capitol and what it means to be ready for such an insurrection.” On that second part, she said that authorities down the line “could have been better prepared” for what happened that day, but added “I don’t think anybody would have foreseen an insurrection incited by the president of the United States.”
Plenty of people saw the potential in Trump and his followers to turn violent and attack, so if this select committee accomplishes anything, it will hopefully be expanding the definition of what’s “normal” and “expected” in politics and from Republicans in this part of the 21st century.
As of now, when the committee would start its work is also up in the air. The House is scheduled to be in session mid-Monday through sometime Thursday of next week—probably midday since it’s the beginning of the July 4th recess. Then it’s not scheduled to come back until July 19, when it will come back for 9 days of legislative business before leaving on July 30 for the August break, not scheduled to come back until Sept. 20. Which makes for a really long August!
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is considering keeping the Senate in for an additional week in August, the week of Aug. 9. As of now, it’s scheduled to be gone from Aug. 9 until Sept. 13. A handful of Democratic senators are pushing Schumer to keep them around.
“I’m in favor of working right through” the August recess, Maryland Democratic Sen. Chris Van Hollen told The Hill. He’s on the Budget Committee, which needs to be working on the reconciliation bill for infrastructure. “My view is we need to keep at it. I’ve been a strong proponent of really working to get the caucus fully focused on working as fast as possible” on infrastructure.
Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon, who has been working hard to get the For the People Act voting rights bill to the floor, wants to stay in town, too. His sense of urgency increased after the Senate Republican filibuster of that bill. He wants to keep hammering to try for a breakthrough on filibuster reform. “I’m very supportive of accelerating the momentum to counter the delay-and-obstruct tactics” of Republicans, Merkley said. “We need to use every day we can possibly use this year.”
His sense of urgency is not misplaced. If Congress doesn’t act on the voting rights and elections reforms that Republicans filibustered this week, the next election is in real jeopardy. There’s infrastructure and the budget reconciliation associated with it. It has to move forward in the next few months if it is going to happen at all. And now there’s the Jan. 6 Select Committee. While the false deadline of the original bipartisan committee proposal of Dec. 31 might be moot (and we don’t know that for sure—the resolution hasn’t been released yet, if it’s been written), the sooner the committee begins work, the better.
Shortening the House recess is no less vital than having the Senate remain in working on infrastructure and the filibuster. It’s been a rough six months for everyone, and particularly for House members who are dealing with a frightening and obnoxious new crew of Republican colleagues. But that rough six months—hell, rough four years of Trump—has been shared by the entire nation. The rest of us don’t have a shot at doing much about it until Nov. 8, 2022. Congress needs to stay on the job now.