WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, on Wednesday said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is following “a completely partisan process” in rejecting two GOP lawmakers from serving on the special panel investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.
Pelosi on Wednesday released a statement saying she won’t accept the appointments of Indiana Rep. Jim Banks or Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan to the committee. Both GOP lawmakers are allies of former President Donald Trump and voted to overturn the election results in the hours after the siege.
“With respect for the integrity of the investigation, with an insistence on the truth and with concern about statements made and actions taken by these members, I must reject the recommendations of Representatives Banks and Jordan to the Select Committee," Pelosi said in a statement.
Pelosi has the authority to approve or reject members, per committee rules, though she acknowledged her move was unusual. She said “the unprecedented nature of January 6th demands this unprecedented decision.”
The select committee was created to investigate the security failures that led to the attack on the Capitol, which occurred while Congress was certifying the 2020 presidential election results, as required by the Constitution. Dozens of police officers were injured as the violent mob pushed past and broke into the Capitol building.
It's disappointing that Speaker Pelosi is playing politics with an important issue like investigating the events surrounding 1/6. There were security failures that happened under her leadership, and it's vitally important we find answers so we can make sure it won't happen again. pic.twitter.com/jzwuM42rjf— US Rep Rodney Davis (@RodneyDavis) July 21, 2021
Democrats have said the investigation will go on whether the Republicans participate or not, as Pelosi has already appointed eight of the 13 members — including Republican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, a Trump critic — and that gives them a bipartisan quorum to proceed, according to committee rules.
The move is emblematic of the raw political tensions in Congress that have only escalated since the insurrection and raises the possibility that the investigation — the only comprehensive probe currently being conducted of the attack — will be done almost entirely by Democrats. The House voted in May to create an independent investigation that would have been evenly split between the parties, but Senate Republicans blocked that approach in a vote last month.
Only Cheney and another frequent Trump critic, Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, voted in favor of the panel.
Pelosi on Wednesday accepted McCarthy’s three other picks — Davis, North Dakota Rep. Kelly Armstrong and Texas Rep. Troy Nehls. But McCarthy said that all five or none would participate.
McCarthy said Pelosi's move will damage the institution of Congress.
“Unless Speaker Pelosi reverses course and seats all five Republican nominees, Republicans will not be party to their sham process and will instead pursue our own investigation of the facts," McCarthy said.
Davis during a press conference said Pelosi continues “to play politics.”
"We are going to continue to ask questions. And, frankly there are many questions about why this Capitol was so unprepared,” he said.
Davis had been Trump’s Illinois campaign co-chair and is in his fifth term in Congress. There is speculation his district, which stretches from Bloomington-Normal to southwestern Illinois, may be divided after redistricting. Additionally, Davis has been discussed as a possible gubernatorial candidate against Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who recently announced he will be seeking another term.
Davis on Wednesday said those charged with protecting the Capitol didn’t have the equipment or preparation, and lawmakers would have pressed why more hasn’t been done. He said Pelosi hasn’t done enough.
“We were hoping to get those answers, but unfortunately, we’re not going to,” he said.
The panel will hold its first hearing next week, with at least four rank-and-file police officers who battled rioters that day testifying about their experiences.
The Associated Press and Los Angeles Times contributed to this report.