Congresswoman Terri Sewell

Representing the 7th District of Alabama

Rep. Sewell Votes to Create Independent, Bipartisan Commission to Investigate January 6th Insurrection

May 19, 2021
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell (AL-07) voted to pass H.R. 3233, the National Commission to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol Complex Act, which would establish a bipartisan, 9/11-style commission of experts to investigate the events of January 6th when an armed mob of insurrectionists incited by then-President Trump stormed the United States Capitol Building to stop the certification of the 2020 Presidential election.

“The violent assault on the U.S. Capitol that occurred on January 6th marked a dark day in America’s history,” said Rep. Sewell. “As I was lying on the floor in the House Chamber huddled with other Members of Congress, struggling to fit on a gas mask and fearing the impending violence, I trembled and wept not only for our safety but for the future of our democracy. While we managed to escape unharmed, I was devastated to learn that the mob, incited by President Trump, caused the deaths of five Americans including one Capitol Police officer.”

“While hundreds of prosecutions are underway, many unanswered questions remain about how such an attack could have happened,” continued Sewell. “For months, scores of national security professionals and patriotic Americans on both sides of the aisle have been calling for a 9/11-style commission to investigate this attack, and I am proud to join my colleagues in voting to make such a commission a reality. Such an unprecedented assault on our democracy demands nothing less.”

On January 6th, the U.S. Capitol was attacked by hundreds of insurrectionists as the Congress voted to certify the results of the presidential election. The storming of the Capitol threatened the lives of Members of Congress, staff, workers and D.C. and Capitol Police – resulting in five deaths, more than 140 injuries to law enforcement officers and lasting terror and trauma. In the wake of the worst attack on our Capitol since the British set the Capitol on fire in 1814, many unanswered questions remain.

That is why the bipartisan leadership of the House Homeland Security Committee worked hard to reach a bipartisan agreement on an independent and impartial commission to investigate the attack and recommend improvements to Capitol security.  This Commission closely mirrors the 9/11 Commission and has the endorsement of the bipartisan 9/11 Commission Chairs, Governor Tom Kean and Congressman Lee Hamilton.

 Key Features of the Commission:

  • Like the 9/11 Commission, it will be a 10-person bipartisan commission with five commissioners, including the Chair, appointed by the Speaker of the House and the Majority Leader of the Senate and five commissioners, including the Vice Chair, appointed by the Minority Leaders of the House and Senate.
  • Commissioners must have significant expertise in the areas of law enforcement, civil rights, civil liberties, privacy, intelligence, and cybersecurity.
  • Current government officers or employees are prohibited from appointment.
  • Like the 9/11 Commission, the Commission will be granted authority to issue subpoenas to secure information to carry out its investigation but only upon agreement between the Chair and the Vice Chair or a vote by a majority of Commission members.
  • It has an explicitly narrow focus to investigate the January 6 attack and the events that led to it.
  • The Commission will be required to issue a final report with findings regarding the facts and causes of the attack, along with recommendations to prevent future attacks on our democratic institutions, by December 31, 2021.