The House Select Committee on January 6, 2021, was created by House Democrats for the nominal purpose of investigating the disturbances at the Capitol that date. Speaker Nancy Pelosi has the authority to name eight House members to the committee, and House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy is authorized to name five.
McCarthy’s picks need formal approval from Democratic leaders according to the rules they wrote for the committee. McCarthy also faces informal pressure from his party and his considerations for maintaining his position to become Speaker should Republicans retake the House in next year’s midterm elections.
Pelosi has made her selections, naming seven Democrats, including Adam Schiff of California, and one notable Republican, Liz Cheney of Wyoming. While Cheney remains a Republican in name, she is a strident opponent of President Trump. Her inclusion on the committee, along with the notorious Schiff, leaves little doubt that the committee’s work will be conducted in a highly partisan manner.
Pelosi has not yet announced a schedule or plan for the committee’s activities, and McCarthy has not yet named any members for appointment. Among his concerns is whether he can find Republican House members interested in being part of the committee.
Rep. Andrew Garbarino (R-NY) said in a statement that “the Select Committee is not about getting answers, it’s just another platform for Democrats to bash Republicans. The best any Republican participants can hope for is to push back on whatever partisan, divisive claims Democratic members make throughout this process.”
Numerous conservative and Trump-supporting members, namely Reps. Matt Gaetz of Florida, Louie Gohmert of Texas, Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, and Lauren Boebert of Colorado, have indicated an interest in serving. McCarthy, on the other hand, faces the virtual certainty that any of those members would be blocked by Pelosi.
Some less controversial Representatives supported President Trump through both impeachment trials who may be willing to serve, including Jim Jordan of Ohio, Elise Stefanik of New York, and Mike Johnson of Louisiana.
Suppose McCarthy decides that leaving his five appointments unfilled is the wisest political move for the Republicans and himself. IIn that situation, he will relinquish control of the entire committee process to the Democrats and Liz Cheney to turn it into an anti-Trump stage performance running up to the midterm elections. In any case, McCarthy is feeling the pressure that comes with being a leader.