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Russ Carnahan, Tom Coleman urge Senate to approve Jan. 6 commission in bipartisan message

Former Congressmen Russ Carnahan and Tom Coleman were on different sides of the aisle while in U.S. House, but both have joined together in a unanimous message for those in the Senate now: approve the commission on the Jan. 6 insurrection. 

The Senate is poised to take a key vote on a House-passed proposal that would establish an independent and bipartisan commission to study the riot that left multiple people dead after supporters of former President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol. It passed the House with only 35 Republicans in support and is expected to face an uphill battle in the Senate. 

Senator Roy Blunt has said “it’s too early” to create a commission and expressed concern that one would not actually yield results. And Senator Josh Hawley has signaled he wouldn’t support a commission, calling it a “political endeavor.” 

But Carnahan and Coleman insist a commission is necessary for the country. Both penned a recent op-ed on the issue and spoke to The Missouri Times Thursday about the importance of a commission. 

“It’s something that is significant in our national history. It really deserves proper attention and structure to break through so much of the partisan clutter around it and really get to the bottom of it so we know what happened, and we can take the proper steps to see that this never happens again and history records it accurately for what it was,” Carnahan told The Missouri Times. 

Coleman argued congressional hearings would be “insufficient” when compared to an independent commission because of some lawmakers’ potential involvement with the activities of Jan. 6 — from attending Trump’s speech in which he urged supporters to march to the Capitol to allegedly “aiding and abetting in the planning or support of what happened.” 

“This is not business as usual. This is unique, what happened to our nation,” Coleman told The Missouri Times. “For senators to treat this on a party-line, I find that difficult to accept. I think they need to look inward, and I think it’s about more than party politics.” 

Coleman, a Republican, represented northwestern Missouri from 1978-1993; Carnahan, a Democrat, served what was then the 3rd congressional district in St. Louis from 2005-2013. 

Senators are expected to begin voting on the commission later Thursday with Republicans preparing a filibuster