Pgh pols remember Jan. 6 as ‘insurrection’ — warn of danger ahead
‘This wasn’t a protest; this wasn’t peaceful. This was an insurrection,’ U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle, D-18th District, said
WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 06: Protesters enter the U.S. Capitol Building on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. Congress held a joint session today to ratify President-elect Joe Biden’s 306-232 Electoral College win over President Donald Trump. A group of Republican senators said they would reject the Electoral College votes of several states unless Congress appointed a commission to audit the election results. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
By Jordana Rosenfeld
PITTSBURGH — One year after a violent mob breached the U.S. Capitol Building, assaulting police, journalists, and staff in an attempt to stop the certification of the results of the 2020 presidential election, Pittsburgh-area politicians offered their reflections on the events of Jan. 6, 2021. A bipartisan Senate report on the Capitol Riot found that at least seven people lost their lives as a result of the attack, including four police officers who responded to the attack and later died by suicide.
Many local politicians urged their fellow lawmakers to support measures to protect and expand voting rights.
Newly-inaugurated Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey, a former state House lawmaker, said that last year “the heartbeat of our country’s democracy was attacked,” and he said that insurrection has been followed by attempts from Harrisburg Republicans to attack the legitimacy of the 2020 election. Gainey called on lawmakers to protect and expand voting rights.
Congress must pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the For the People Act in order to protect our democracy, ensure everyone has access to the ballot box, and get dark money out of politics,” Gainey said in a statement. The time is now.”
U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., also criticized Republicans in a press release for continuing “to undermine our elections and our democratic principles.
“Republican officials across the country have embraced the former President’s Big Lie by introducing and enacting an unprecedented number of voter suppression measures and politicizing nonpartisan election administration functions,” Casey continued.
“If we do not restore and strengthen voter protections nationwide,” Casey warned, “a future authoritarian could succeed where the former president and his insurrectionists failed.”
The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act would reinstate and strengthen elements of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that have been recently struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court. The act passed the House in August 2021 and was introduced to the Senate a few months later. Sen. Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., had announced his intention to pass filibuster reform in order to approve the bill this month, but Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., has indicated he does not support such a strategy.
The For the People Act would expand voting rights, reform campaign finance laws, and ban partisan gerrymandering.
State Rep. Jessica Benham, D-Allegheny, wrote in a tweet that “our democracy is fragile & that we must fight for it,” arguing that “while January 6 is a day burned in our collective memory, our democracy has been under a sustained attack for more than a year.”
But some Pennsylvania Republicans are striking a slightly different tune.
U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., appears to have declined requests for comment on Thursdy’s anniversary from multiple media outlets. In the wake of the insurrection, Toomey did, however, directly blame Trump in a speech later the same day and was one of the few Republicans to vote in favor of Trump’s impeachment for spreading lies and urging on the riot.
U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly, R-16th District, said in a statement that he encourages House committee members to “avoid partisan investigations and instead focus on ways to secure the Capitol so this type of violence does not happen again.”
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