House Republicans blocked a vote Wednesday on legislation to create an independent commission to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 election. A Democratic effort to force a vote failed, with only one Republican – Rep. Walter Jones of North Carolina – joining them in a procedural vote that would have allowed them to bring up the bill. But Democrats also launched a petition Wednesday that would allow them to force a vote on the bill at a later date if they get a majority of lawmakers to sign on. “Today is a courage call for our Republican colleagues,” said Rep. Eric Swalwell of Calif., who co-authored the bill with Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland. “Can they — as we have done with past attacks against our country — can they put party aside, put our country first and unite with Democrats to say that never again will we tolerate an attack like this?”
The legislation would create a 12-member, bipartisan commission that could interview witnesses, obtain documents, issue subpoenas and receive public testimony to investigate Russia’s attempts to influence the election.
The bill’s 199 cosponsors include two Republicans – Jones and Rep. Justin Amash, of Michigan. Amash voted with his party to block bringing up the bill.