Republicans in the U.S. Congress on Wednesday face questions about whether to discipline a pair of strikingly different Representatives Liz Cheney and Marjorie Taylor Greene, decisions that will send a strong signal about the party’s future.
Cheney, the No. 3 House of Representatives Republican, is facing heat for her vote to impeach former President Donald Trump on a charge of inciting insurrection in a speech to his followers before they attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6, leaving five dead.
Greene is in the hotseat for having supported conspiracy theories and online calls for violence against Democrats – views that have drawn sharp criticism from Senate Republicans including leader Mitch McConnell, who warned against “looney lies and conspiracy theories.”
In choosing to strip Cheney of her leadership role or remove Greene from committees, Republicans will also telegraph a message about the future of their party.
The 211 House Republicans who have been invited to a closed-door meeting also are expected to weigh both, though it is unclear if they will act on Wednesday.
An outspoken Trump supporter, Greene before coming to Congress this year has voiced support for unfounded conspiracy theories. Last week, CNN reported that she had also approved of calls for violence against Democratic lawmakers, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is being pulled in opposite directions from members of his rank-and-file, who have been riven for months over Trump’s insistence, without evidence, that the 2020 election was “stolen” from him and by the increasingly violent rhetoric among members of the Republican Party.
House Democrats, who hold a slim majority, were preparing to advance legislation on Wednesday relieving Greene of her committee assignments if House Republicans did not act promptly. Some Democrats called for her to be expelled from Congress.
“I’m the Democrat mob’s public enemy number one,” Greene said in a tweet on Tuesday.
Some high-profile Republican senators have injected themselves into the House controversies.
“We should have nothing to do with Marjorie Taylor Greene. I think we should repudiate the things she said and move away from her,” Senator Mitt Romney told reporters on Tuesday.
On Monday, McConnell weighed in with a statement saying that Greene’s “looney lies and conspiracy theories are a cancer for the Republican Party and our country.”
Greene is a political newcomer who took office just last month while Cheney, the daughter of former Republican Vice President Dick Cheney, served in Republican administrations before first winning election to Congress in 2016.
In early 2019, then-Representative Steve King was stripped of his committee assignments after the long-time Republican lawmaker was found to have uttered racist comments. King was defeated in a Republican primary election last June.