House Republicans decided Wednesday to stand by two GOP lawmakers who have polarized the party, voting to retain Rep. Liz Cheney as their No. 3 leader and saying they’d fight a Democratic push to kick Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene off her committees.
In a 145-61 vote by secret ballot, House Republicans overwhelmingly rebuffed a rebellion by hard-right conservatives to toss Cheney, R-Wyo., over her vote last month to impeach then-President Donald Trump.
Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy ridiculed Democrats for slating a House vote on Thursday that would remove Greene from her committees. McCarthy’s comment was a signal that he was dismissing bipartisan demands that the hard-right Georgia Republican be punished for her online embrace of racist and violent views and bizarre conspiracy theories.
The decisions over Greene and Cheney have subjected the GOP to a politically agonizing test of its direction as it moves beyond the Trump presidency. Since he grudgingly vacated the White House last month, the party has been ideologically adrift as it’s struggled over whether to embrace his norm-busting divisiveness or the party’s more traditional, policy-oriented conservative values.
But shortly after the Democratic-led House Rules Committee cleared the way for Thursday’s vote, McCarthy released a statement saying Democrats were “choosing to raise the temperature” by attempting a “partisan power grab.”
McCarthy condemned Greene’s past endorsements of conspiracy theories — after weeks of saying little critical of her — and said the first-term congresswoman had recognized in a private conversation that she must meet “a higher standard” as a lawmaker. Greene has shown support for calls to violence against Democrats and bizarre fictions about faked school shootings.