The statement by McCarthy represents the most recent high-profile, Trump-related fissure to emerge among House Republicans, after Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) was purged from House leadership last week for her refusal to promote the false claim that the 2020 election was stolen.
Cheney was replaced as House GOP conference chair by Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), who was criticized by some Republicans as insufficiently conservative but remains widely viewed as a fierce defender of the former president.
The Jan. 6 commission had also become a point of friction between McCarthy and Cheney in the weeks before her ouster, with McCarthy demanding that such a panel examine acts of looting and violence that accompanied some protests last summer against police brutality and racial injustice. Cheney, however, sought to have the commission probe solely the Capitol siege.
If impaneled, the Jan. 6 commission could potentially force testimony from McCarthy, who reportedly had a heated phone call with Trump as the insurrection was unfolding and may be able to speak to the former president’s state of mind amid the attack.
But Senate Republicans have indicated they may not support the investigative panel, casting doubt on the legislation’s prospects after its likely House passage on Wednesday.
Less than two hours after McCarthy’s announcement that he would oppose the bill, the White House released its own statement on Tuesday morning expressing its approval of the legislation by Katko and Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.).
President Joe Biden’s administration “supports the proposed bipartisan, independent National Commission to study and investigate the facts and circumstances surrounding the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol,” the White House said. “The Nation deserves such a full and fair accounting to prevent future violence and strengthen the security and resilience of our democratic institutions.”