While it wasn’t the type of committee he supported, we hope he fulfills his duty on the panel investigating the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, the Taylorville Republican whose district includes Champaign-Urbana, has been named by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to the 12-member House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 domestic terrorism attack on the U.S. Capitol. It’s an important, high-profile position for the five-term moderate legislator who was one of the first Republicans to condemn the attack.
“On Jan. 6, 2021, the U.S. Capitol was attacked, and it’s imperative we fully investigate how it happened and the steps needed to ensure it never happens again,” Davis said a week after the insurrection. “It’s critical this investigation remains bipartisan, but with full force.”
The investigation that will take place isn’t exactly what Davis had hoped for. He wanted a bipartisan national commission similar to the 9/11 commission that looked into the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. He was one of 35 House Republicans to vote for the commission, going against the wishes of both McCarthy and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who blocked creation of the panel.
What the country will end up with is a Democratic-led committee of 12 House members, seven selected by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and five chosen by McCarthy. Pelosi, however, has the right to veto any of McCarthy’s picks. That’s part of the reason Davis earlier said he feared “a partisan circus.”
He’s not alone in that concern. There’s unease on both sides that the commission’s hearings, which are scheduled to start next week, will become an exercise not in examining the causes, circumstances and preparation surrounding the attacks but a noisy game of “gotcha.”
But it’s imperative that someone attempt to discover the full truth behind the attack on the Capitol — not just the charges against individual rioters — so that that kind of dangerous assault on police, public officials and government doesn’t occur again.
Davis has demonstrated independence in Congress — voting with President Joe Biden about 25 percent of the time so far and against former President Donald Trump about 11 percent during his term. By that count, Davis is even more independent than Rep. Liz Cheney, the Wyoming Republican whom Pelosi appointed to the committee and who was stripped of her GOP leadership position after rejecting Trump’s claims that Biden’s election was illegitimate.
We trust Davis will do his best not to contribute to a circus atmosphere and will help uncover the truth about what happened leading up to the Jan. 6 attacks, what kind of role Trump and members of Congress had in the uprising and why the Capitol Police and other security forces were so utterly unprepared.