In an epic display of legislative ineptitude, Republican leaders tasked an intermediary with negotiating a bipartisan deal and, after haggling for months to extract Democratic concessions, the very same leaders rejected the deal and hung their negotiator out to dry.
Sound like the work of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and his top lieutenants on the border deal? Nope. Actually, the maneuver was pioneered by former House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and his crackerjack leadership team in May of 2021 after one of McCarthy’s closest allies negotiated a bipartisan 9/11-style commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack.
Republican Rep. John Katko of New York, ranking member of the Homeland Security Committee, and panel chair Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson had been tapped by McCarthy and then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi to set the terms for a bipartisan independent commission on Jan. 6. The final proposal included Republican demands for equal representation on the commission and joint approval of subpoenas—two major concessions by Pelosi.
Still, as the vote approached, McCarthy pulled support for the deal and ultimately urged Republicans to vote against it in an effort to appease Trump and the hard-right wing of his conference.
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