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Upton pushes for bipartisan Jan. 6 commission, condemns GOP colleagues who downplay attack

Ariana Taylor
The Detroit News

Republican U.S. Rep. Fred Upton is pushing for Congress to form a bipartisan commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, and is condemning Republican colleagues who continue to downplay its impact.

"It's absolutely bogus," Upton of St. Joseph said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union." "It's important to find out just how widespread this thing was and what can we do to make sure that it never can happen again." 

U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph

On Friday, top Democratic and Republican members of the House Homeland Security Committee reached an agreement for the commission after partisan differences had stalled the measure. 

"I support that John Katko has done a remarkable job as a top Republican on the Homeland Security Committee ... and he has been working very hard for the last number of weeks, like five to six weeks, on trying to craft a deal that really does make sense and will bring Republican support to it," Upton said Sunday.

Upton balked at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's proposal that the commission would include seven Democrats and four Republicans.

The new terms of the agreement proposes the commission have an equal number of Democrats and Republicans, five from each party. It would have subpoena power and be charged with issuing a final report by Dec. 31, along recommendations to prevent future attacks.

For months, Republican and Democratic lawmakers have been at odds over the scope and makeup of the commission. It’s unclear how many Republicans will vote for it.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said after Friday's announcement that he had not yet read the details about the commission and did not signal whether he would support it.

Upton said Sunday, "I think it's going to be fair, it should get a good number of votes, and yes I do hope Kevin McCarthy supports it."

The insurrection is an increasingly fraught subject in the House GOP conference.

While almost every Republican member condemned the violent mob that day, and many criticized Trump for his role in encouraging it, a growing number of them have downplayed the attack as time has gone on. 

In a House hearing on Wednesday, Rep. Andrew Clyde of Georgia said the Jan. 6 attack was not an insurrection. "If you didn't know the TV footage was video from Jan. 6, you would actually think it was a normal tourist visit," Clyde said. 

The Associated Press contributed.