By NICHOLAS WU
House Democrats are plowing ahead on investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection with or without Republican leadership participation, scheduling the first select committee hearing on July 27.
At the hearing, the committee will “hear first-hand” from officers from Washington, D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department and the United States Capitol Police.
Democrats did not name any witnesses, but the panel could call law enforcement officials like Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn and Metropolitan Police Department officers Michael Fanone and Daniel Hodges, all of whom attended the House vote on the panel’s creation and have been vocal about their experiences during the insurrection.
Those officers and many others spent hours under assault by rioters on Jan. 6, with dozens injured and many others left with lasting trauma from the day. More than 70 Capitol Police officers have retired or resigned from the force since the insurrection, according to their union.
In a statement, the Capitol Police said they would “fully cooperate with any and all requests to participate in Committee proceedings related to January 6.”
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has held his cards close on which Republicans he might ask to join the panel and has declined to say whether he would participate by naming any at all. Democrats have veto power over his choices because of the panel’s structure as a select committee.
The hearing comes as the Capitol Police and the National Guard face a potential cash crunch going into August. Facing increased costs from responding to the insurrection and its aftermath, the USCP is running out of money for salaries. Additionally, the National Guard could be forced to cut training if Congress does not grant more funding.
But Senate appropriators appear no closer to reaching a resolution. Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), whose initial $3.7 billion bill to address the shortfalls and plug other security gaps was panned by the GOP as too expensive, plans to make another counteroffer to Republicans. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), the top Republican on the Appropriations Committee, reiterated to POLITICO Wednesday that Republicans would not accept Leahy’s original proposal.
“We’re not for that. We’ll have to negotiate a lot more,” he said. The Alabama Republican said his side was “ready to move” on funding the USCP and National Guard but “we’re not open to a big-item bill.”
CLARIFICATION: An earlier version of this story stated that Sen. Richard Shelby had rejected Sen. Patrick Leahy’s Capitol Police funding counterproposal on Wednesday. It’s unclear if Leahy has submitted his counter offer, and Shelby was referring to Leahy’s original proposal.