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2 Miami-Dade Republican lawmakers support panel to investigate Capitol riots

MIAMI – Two Cuban-American Republican lawmakers from Miami-Dade County voted in favor of an independent commission to investigate ways to prevent the deadly Jan. 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol.

Reps. Maria Elvira Salazar and Carlos Gimenez were among the 35 Republicans who helped to push the bill to pass in the House.

“I want to get to the bottom of how our security forces allowed a breach,” Gimenez said.

FILE - In this Jan. 6, 2021, file photo, U.S. Capitol Police hold rioters at gun-point near the House Chamber inside the U.S. Capitol in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Former President Donald Trump referred to it as a “Democrat trap.” The panel’s appointees would include five Democrats and five Republicans and have limited subpoena power.

House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy voted against it. He allegedly called Trump during the siege to beg him to tell his supporters to go home. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell plans to do the same.

“Our leader McCarthy never called me, never tried to change my vote,” Gimenez said.

FILE - In this Jan. 6, 2021 file photo, security agents and lawmakers barricade the door to the House chamber as violent mob loyal to President Donald Trump breached the Capitol in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer accused Republicans of “trying to erase the memory of Jan. 6″ The bill needs the support of 10 Republicans to pass the Senate. Utah Sen. Mitt Romney and Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy have both said they support it.

Florida Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott are likely to vote along party lines. They both voted to acquit Trump over his role in the Capitol Hill riots.

FILE - In this Feb. 2, 2021, file photo a placard is displayed with an image of the late U.S. Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick on it as people wait for an urn with his cremated remains to be carried into the U.S. Capitol to lie in honor in the Capitol Rotunda in Washington. (Brendan Smialowski/Pool via AP, File) (2021 Brendan Smialowski)

The deaths related to the insurrection included that of Ashli Babbitt, 35, a U.S. Air Force veteran, and Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, 42, a 13-year veteran. Nearly 140 Capitol Police officers were injured.

Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said it’s “incredibly disappointing” to see lawmakers turn the decision into a political issue. She also said President Joe Biden supports the establishment of a commission to conduct an independent investigation into the “unprecedented assault on our democracy.”

FILE - In this March 8, 2021, file photo, members of the National Guard open a gate in the razorwire topped perimeter fence around the Capitol at sunrise in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

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President Joe Biden arrives to speak about a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, in the Cross Hall of the White House, Thursday, May 20, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

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FILE - This May 4, 2021 file photo shows the Treasury Building in Washington. The U.S. Treasury Department said Thursday, May 20, 2021 that it supports a global minimum corporate tax rate of at least 15% below the 21% minimum it has been seeking to impose on the foreign profits of U.S.-based companies. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, file) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

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Torres contributed to this report from Miami.

About the Authors:

Ben Kennedy is an Emmy Award-winning Washington Bureau Chief for Local 10 News. He has more than a decade of reporting experience nationwide.

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.