Jan 6 Committee: A rising group of Republicans need McCarthy Kinzinger and Cheney to be punished for becoming a member of the panel
The pressure for punishment rose to new levels on Sunday after Pelosi announced that Kinzinger had accepted her invitation to join the committee. Initially, most ordinary Republicans were content with leaving Cheney to serve without a great deal of struggle, but Kinzinger’s addition changed the discussion and put new pressure on McCarthy.
With the loudest screams coming from members of the far-right Freedom Caucus, sources say the mood has spread beyond the hardline crew.
“There’s a lot,” said one GOP member of pressure to remove the couple from its other committees. “Supporting Pelosi’s unprecedented move to turn down McCarthy’s picks was a bridge too far.”
Pelosi turned down two of McCathy’s decisions last week – Reps. Jim Banks from Indiana and Jim Jordan from Ohio – which led the GOP leader to withdraw all five of his selections.
Rep. Scott Perry, a member of the Freedom Caucus, publicly urged conference chair Elise Stefanik to convene a special GOP conference session to “take appropriate action” related to Pelosi dismissing two of McCarthy’s chosen picks from the committee. Some members specifically want McCarthy and Stefanik to urge GOP members to vote to relieve Cheney and Kinzinger, who both voted for the impeachment of former President Donald Trump earlier this year, from their other committee duties. Stefanik’s office did not respond to a request for comment on Perry’s request for a conference meeting.
But throwing them off their committees would be easier said than done. While McCarthy could remove Cheney and Kinzinger from their other committees, Pelosi ultimately controls membership in the committees. In theory, she could just reassign them to their current posts.
The Scuttle shows how difficult McCarthy’s leadership role remains. While the Conservatives welcomed his decision to appoint both Banks and Jordan, and his subsequent move to withdraw all of his decisions, they still believe Cheney and Kinzinger should be reprimanded for not staying true to the conference.
McCarthy’s office did not respond to questions about the Republicans urging him to punish Kinzinger and Cheney.
Sources say McCarthy and the GOP leadership are reluctant to engage in a protracted battle over the punishment of Cheney and Kinzinger. But when Pelosi first proposed calling a Republican to the committee, McCarthy warned a group of Republican newcomers that they should plan to take all of their committee duties from her if any of them accepted a spokesperson’s appointment. Now members are pointing out McCarthy’s threat and calling for action.
“A lot of people wonder the same things,” said another GOP member. “If you accept appointments from Nancy Pelosi and not from the GOP, have you not effectively left?
The Freedom Caucus is already urging McCarthy to file a motion to remove Pelosi from the spokesperson. McCarthy ignored her advance, which has no chance of getting past. But a Freedom Caucus source told CNN that if McCarthy does not actively participate in the eviction motion, it could reinforce calls for his dismissal of Cheney and Kinzinger from their committees, with the group seeking to stand up in some way to repay.
A Kinzinger spokesman suggested that if McCarthy punished the duo it would be an example of a bigger problem with his leadership.
“It would speak volumes if he were to withdraw their mandates to keep their oath to protect our democracy,” said Kinzinger communications director Maura Gillespie.
Cheney has already signaled that she is not concerned about being kicked off the committees as a punishment for serving on the select committee.
“My oath, my duty, all of our oaths, all of our duties are constitutional and that will always be my focus, not politics,” she said after Pelosi first announced her appointment earlier this month.