Over the objections of Republicans, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi moved earlier this year to establish what she’s calling a “bipartisan” committee to investigate unrest at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. The group was meant to comprise 13 lawmakers, including seven Democrats, GOP Rep. Liz Cheney (WY), and five other Republicans set to be selected by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).
But it seems Pelosi wasn’t pleased with the names McCarthy had in mind. According to Fox News, Pelosi was quick to reject the inclusion of Reps. Jim Banks (R-IN) and Jim Jordan (R-OH) on the committee, prompting an outburst from McCarthy, who accused the House speaker of trampling on the “institution” of Congress with an “egregious abuse of power.”
“An egregious abuse of power”
McCarthy made his opinion of the move clear at a press conference shortly after Pelosi’s announcement.
“Speaker Pelosi has taken the unprecedented step of denying the minority party’s picks for the select committee on Jan. 6,” McCarthy said, according to Fox. “This represents something that has not happened in the House before for a select committee, by the historian.”
The House minority leader also called Pelosi’s action “an egregious abuse of power.”
“Pelosi has broken this institution,” he charged, as Fox reported. “Denying the voice of members who have served in the military — Jim Banks, a Navy veteran who served in Afghanistan. As well as a leader of a standing committee. Jim Jordan isn’t ranking of just his first committee, he’s done it before.”
McCarthy went on: “Unless Speaker Pelosi reverses course and seats all five Republican nominees, Republicans will not be party to their sham process and will instead pursue our own investigation of the facts.”
Pelosi’s political games
Later, according to Fox, McCarthy said Pelosi’s action had “made it undeniable this panel has lost all legitimacy and credibility. And it shows exactly what I warned back at the beginning of January. That Pelosi would play politics with this.”
Rep. Jordan, who along with Rep. Banks was at the press conference with McCarthy, also chimed in. “This has always been about politics,” he said, “and today’s actions by the speaker just confirm that… What is the speaker afraid of?”
According to ABC News, Pelosi said in a statement Wednesday that she’d accept three of McCarthy’s picks. But “with respect for the integrity of the investigation, with an insistence on the truth and with concern about statements made and actions taken by these Members, I must reject the recommendations of Representatives Banks and Jordan to the Select Committee,” she declared.
“The unprecedented nature of January 6th demands this unprecedented decision,” the speaker added in defense of her highly partisan move.
Those words didn’t sit well with Rep. Kelly Armstrong, a North Dakota Republican also chosen by McCarthy to sit on the committee. “This isn’t about the truth. It’s not even about the last election or the next one,” Armstrong said in a statement. “This is about [Pelosi] maintaining an iron grip on her conference and the People’s House. When we win the majority back in 2022, she will not be around to witness the consequences of her draconian actions.”