ARKANSAS, USA — Arkansas Republican Senators Tom Cotton and John Boozman are among the 35 senators that blocked a bipartisan probe of the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
The Senate vote on Friday for the independent investigation was 54-35. 11 lawmakers were absent, nine Republican and two Democrats.
This month, the House passed a bill that would have formed a 10-member commission containing five lawmakers from each party. After initial support from both sides, GOP senators now say they believe Democrats would eventually use the commission against them, the AP reports.
Some party members have downplayed the violence and defended the pro-Trump rioters repeating the former president's false notion that the election was stolen from him.
The attack on Jan. 6 has been called the worst siege on Capitol Hill in 200 years and intended to interrupt the certification of then-President-elect Joe Biden.
Senators Cotton and Boozman have yet to release comments about Friday's vote (we will update this article if they do).
During the day of the attack, Senator Tom Cotton sent a tweet, stating, "This violence is unacceptable and needs to be met with the full force of the law. God bless the Capitol Police who are keeping us safe." In a statement released later that day, Cotton said those who mobbed the Capitol should "face the full extent of the law." Also saying, "It’s past time for the president to accept the results of the election, quit misleading the American people."
Boozman also tweeted that day that the violence at the Capitol was "unacceptable." He later stated that what happened was "shocking, unlawful and a dark day we must reckon with today and in the days to come."
Four people died that day, and Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick collapsed and died afterward of what authorities said were natural causes. Two police officers took their own lives in the days after the riots, the AP reports.
Sen. Cotton released the following statement following Officer Sicknick's death, “Officer Sicknick diligently protected our Capitol and the lives of every American inside for 12 years. On Wednesday, Sicknick performed his duty for the last time as he worked with other brave officers to defend the Capitol from dangerous insurrectionists. Our nation will not forget his sacrifice and life of service. May God bring comfort to his family."
Sicknick's mother, girlfriend and two police officers who fought the rioters went office to office in the Senate and asked Republicans to support the bipartisan commission, according to the AP.
Three men from Arkansas have been arrested for various crimes related to the Capitol attack, including beating a police officer with a pole holding an American Flag, trespassing, stealing a letter from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office, and other charges.