A growing group of rank-and-file House Republicans wants House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and GOP leadership to punish Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger for accepting a position from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to serve on the select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection.
The push to seek punishment rose to a new level on Sunday, after Pelosi announced that Kinzinger had accepted her invitation to join the committee. Initially, most rank-and-file Republicans were content to let Cheney serve without much of a fight, but Kinzinger's addition has changed the conversation and has put a new level of pressure on McCarthy.
While the loudest cries have come from members of the hard-right Freedom Caucus, sources say that the sentiment has started to spread beyond the hard-line crew.
"There's a lot," said one GOP member about the push to have the pair removed from their other committees. "Supporting Pelosi's unprecedented move to reject McCarthy's picks was a bridge too far."
Pelosi rejected two of McCathy's choices last week -- Reps. Jim Banks of Indiana and Jim Jordan of Ohio -- which prompted the GOP leader to withdraw all five of his picks.
Rep. Scott Perry, a Freedom Caucus member, publicly called on Conference Chair Elise Stefanik to call a special GOP conference meeting to "address appropriate measures" related to Pelosi booting two of McCarthy's chosen picks from the committee. Some members specifically want McCarthy and Stefanik to push for a vote of GOP members to strip Cheney and Kinzinger, who both voted to impeach former President Donald Trump earlier this year, from their other committee assignments. Stefanik's office did not respond to a request for comment on Perry's desire for a conference meeting.
But kicking them off their committees would be easier said than done. While McCarthy could remove Cheney and Kinzinger from their other committees, Pelosi ultimately controls committee membership. She could theoretically just re-appoint them to their current posts.
The scuttle demonstrates how difficult McCarthy's leadership role remains. While conservatives applauded his decision to attempt to appoint both Banks and Jordan and his subsequent move to pull back all of his choices, they still believe Cheney and Kinzinger need to be reprimanded for not remaining loyal to the conference.
McCarthy's office did not respond to questions about Republicans pushing him to punish Kinzinger and Cheney.