I stayed up on Thursday night until the U.S. Senate finally adjourned at 3am without having voted on either the United States Innovation and Competition Act of 2021 or the creation of a commission to study the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol. The delay was attributable to Republican Sen. Ron Johnson and a handful of coconspirators who raised procedural objections to the competition bill.
The Senate reconvened at 9am while I was sleeping, but eleven members had skipped town to begin their Memorial Day vacations. That meant they weren’t available to vote on the January 6 commission. In the end, the commission proposal attracted the support of just six Republicans: (Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of Utah, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Rob Portman of Ohio, and Susan Collins of Maine).
With the exception of Sen. Portman, this is the same list of Republicans that voted to convict Trump in his second impeachment trial which dealt with his role in instigating the insurrection. Missing were Richard Burr of North Carolina and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania who had left DC and didn’t participate.
What we see here is every Republican senator, save Portman, who voted to acquit Trump in his second impeachment trial wound up not supporting a commission to investigate the coup attempt. The bill needed sixty votes to overcome a filibuster and it only attracted fifty-four. For now, there will be no commission.
There also won’t be an Innovation and Competition Act. A deal was made to scrap that vote until Congress reconvenes in June. My guess is that it will eventually pass and become law, but not on schedule.
So it goes.
Perhaps this will be the point at which Sen. Murkowski switches parties.
She was the first Republican senator to publicly call on Trump to resign after the Jan. 6 attack, and she joined six other GOP senators to vote to convict Trump during his second impeachment trial in February.
“I want him to resign. I want him out. He has caused enough damage,” Murkowski told the Anchorage Daily News after the attack.
During her 2010 campaign, Murkowski lost her GOP primary to a tea party candidate but went on to win reelection as a write-in candidate. She has remained a Republican, but in the interview with the Anchorage Daily News, she suggested she may leave the party if it continues to embrace Trump.
“I didn’t have any reason to leave my party in 2010,” Murkowski said in January. “I was a Republican who ran a write-in campaign and I was successful. But I will tell you, if the Republican Party has become nothing more than the party of Trump, I sincerely question whether this is the party for me.”
It’s pretty clear now that “the Republican Party has become nothing more than the party of Trump,” so the ball is in Murkowski’s court.