The Republican National Committee will consider a resolution on Friday to censure Representatives Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, the two Republicans who sit on the House committee investigating the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
The RNC’s resolutions committee unanimously passed the resolution on Thursday afternoon, according to Harmeet Dhillon, an RNC member from California and one of the resolution’s co-sponsors. The full RNC will vote on the resolution when its members gather on Friday during the party’s winter meetings in Salt Lake City.
Cheney and Kinzinger have been outspoken critics of former President Trump and are two of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump after the January 6 attack.
Cheney was removed from her leadership position in the House Republican Conference in May 2021, and she is currently facing a primary challenge from a Trump-backed Republican. Kinzinger announced in October that he will not run for reelection in 2022.
A previous version of the resolution called for House Republicans to expel Cheney and Kinzinger from the party’s conference, but was amended to censure the two representatives after more RNC members weighed in. Several state and local Republican groups have punished Republicans who voted to impeach the former president.
The resolution has several dozen co-sponsors. RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel addressed the resolutions committee and “was supportive of the resolution as passed,” Dhillon told reporters.
The resolution will go to a vote before the full RNC on Friday and could be amended during that session. Those who have backed it expect that it will pass.
“I think it’s important for members of the Republican Party to support one another and they’ve made it clear over the past year that it’s more important for them to attack the former president than it is to support the principles of the Republican Party,” John Wahl, the chairman of the Alabama Republican Party and a co-sponsor of the resolution, told CBS News. “It is more important for them to attack Donald Trump than to fight for the rights and freedoms of the people of America.”
Still, not all members of the RNC are thrilled that the committee is spending time attacking its own members.
“The resolution is distracting and counterproductive for our effort to win in November,” said Bill Palatucci, an RNC member from New Jersey. “I’m glad that it was revised several times and watered down to just censure. Obviously, the sponsors heard from many members that anything more was unwelcome.”
But other members argued that it’s the party’s responsibility to take action against Kinzinger and Cheney for joining the January 6 committee. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy pulled his selections from the committee after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected two of McCarthy’s suggestions.
“The midterms are about a party electing its leaders, and what Adam Kinzinger and Liz Cheney did here is defy their party’s leadership,” Dhillon said. “I do not want to elect people in the midterms who do what these two did. So I think it is absolutely essential that we send this message.”
Maura Gillespie, a spokeswoman for Kinzinger, said in a statement to CBS News on Wednesday that the RNC would “be better served by focusing on 2022 rather than an unprecedented and shortsighted effort to purge two lifelong Republicans for simply telling the truth and upholding their oaths of office.”
Cheney said in a statement that “the leaders of the Republican Party have made themselves willing hostages to a man who admits he tried to ‘overturn’ a presidential election and suggests he would pardon Jan. 6 defendants, some of whom have been charged with seditious conspiracy.”
“I’m a constitutional conservative and I do not recognize those in my party who have abandoned the Constitution to embrace Donald Trump. History will be their judge. I will never stop fighting for our constitutional republic. No matter what,” she added.
The annual winter meeting brings RNC members from around the country to tackle party issues. Members have been attending events hosted by some of the cities that are being considered to host the 2024 Republican National Convention. Committee members are also discussing a potential future ban on GOP presidential candidates from participating in debates sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates.
Aaron Navarro contributed to this report.
CBS News political reporter.