Split along party lines, the House of Representatives has launched a new investigation of the January 6 US Capitol riots, approving a special committee to probe the violent attack as police officers who were injured fighting former President Donald Trump’s supporters watched from the gallery above.
The vote to form the panel was 222-190, with Republicans objecting that majority Democrats would be in charge.
The action came after Senate Republicans blocked the creation of an independent commission that would have been evenly split between the two parties.
Emphasising the importance that Democrats attached to the vote, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told lawmakers in the chamber: “We will be judged by future generations as to how we value our democracy.”
Wyoming Representative Liz Cheney, who lost her position in the Republican leadership because of her criticism of Mr Trump, was one of only two from the party to vote for the panel.
She declared, “Our nation, and the families of the brave law enforcement officers who were injured defending us or died following the attack, deserve answers.”
But Ohio Republican Brad Wenstrup rejected the new probe as “incomplete and insufficient” because it would not look into other incidents of political violence including the 2017 shooting at a baseball field that badly injured Republican Representative Steve Scalise of Louisiana.
Ms Pelosi said she preferred that an independent panel lead the inquiry but Congress could wait no longer to begin a deeper look at the riots at the US Capitol.