The GOP senators who refused to meet Brian Sicknick’s mother before voting down riot commission

·3 min read
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

The mother of US Capitol Police office Brian Sicknick, who died the day after a failed insurrection in the halls of Congress on 6 January, personally lobbied every Republican senator ahead of a vote to form a commission to investigate the assault that led to his death and injured as many as 140 other officers.

A procedural vote to begin debate on the proposal failed by a vote of 54-35, marking the first successful GOP filibuster in this Congress, and effectively killing a bipartisan probe that lawmakers modelled after the commission in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks.

Eleven senators – including two Democrats – skipped the vote entirely. It needed 60 votes to move forward in the evenly divided chamber.

At least 20 GOP senators did not meet with Ms Sicknick, according to The Washington Post. The newspaper named 18 of them, who either refused to adjust their schedules to accommodate a meeting or did not respond to Ms Sicknick’s request.

Republicans Richard Burr, Shelley Moore Capito, Bill Hagerty, Tommy Tuberville and James Risch told the newspaper that they were not able to adjust their schedules for a last-minute meeting.

Senator Roy Blunt said that he invited the family to address the Senate Rules and Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committees instead.

GOP senators Marsha Blackburn, John Boozman, Tom Cotton, Joni Ernst, Deb Fischer, Cindy Hyde-Smith, James Inhofe, John Neely Kennedy, Jerry Moran, Rand Paul, Mike Rounds and Roger Wicker also did not meet with Ms Sicknick, according to The Post.

According to Politico, Senate Republicans who did agree to meet included John Barrasso, Bill Cassidy, Susan Collins, Mike Crapo, Ted Cruz, Lindsey Graham, Ron Johnson, Mike Lee, Roger Marshall, Rob Portman, Mitt Romney and Pat Toomey.

Senator Lisa Murkowski also met with Ms Sicknick.

But of that list, only Senators Cassidy, Collins, Murkowski, Portman and Romney broke from their party to support the measure. Republican Senator Ben Sasse also voted in support.

Senator Toomey, among nine GOP lawmakers who skipped the vote entirely, said he would have supported it but had a family commitment and could not stay in Washington.

Mr Sicknick’s partner Sandra Garza and other Capitol police officers joined Ms Sicknick to lobby senate offices ahead of the vote on 28 May. Ms Sicknick told reporters that she typically remains “in the background” when it comes to politics.

But after several weeks of attempts among GOP lawmakers to downplay the assault or distance themselves from Donald Trump’s “stolen election” narrative that fuelled rioters in an attempt to overturn the results, “I just couldn’t stay quiet anymore,” she said.

She told CNN after the vote that the senators who voted against the measure “are elected for us, the people, and they don’t care about that”.

“They care about money, I guess, their pocketbooks,” she added. “So they’ll be in front of the cameras when they feel like it. They just don’t care, and it’s not right.”

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