House Republicans on Wednesday are poised to vote to remove Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming as House GOP conference chair.
Barring any surprise, the House GOP could vote separately as early as Friday to name Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York as Ms. Cheney’s replacement as the third-ranking Republican in the chamber.
Ms. Cheney has been in hot water over her refusal to tone down her criticism of former President Donald Trump, of his insistence that the 2020 election was stolen, and of the role he played in inciting the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.
She also broke with GOP leaders by embracing a proposed 9/11 style commission to investigate the attack on the U.S. Capitol, which many Republicans see as a partisan enterprise.
Ms. Cheney’s fate appears to be sealed. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and House Minority Whip Steve Scalise have thrown their support behind Ms. Stefanik and Mr. Trump also has endorsed her.
In a letter to his colleagues this week, Mr. McCarthy said the GOP must not get bogged down in internal disputes and must be unified ahead of the 2022 midterms.
“If we are to succeed in stopping the radical Democrat agenda from destroying our country, these internal conflicts need to be resolved so as to not detract from the efforts of our collective team,” the California Republican said. “Having heard from so many of you in recent days, it’s clear that we need to make a change.”
“As such, you should anticipate a vote on recalling the Conference Chair this Wednesday,” Mr. McCarthy said.
The push to install Ms. Stefanik has faced some blowback.
Rep. Chip Roy of Texas warned in a letter to his House colleagues that she is the wrong pick, and suggested the GOP would be better off leaving the post vacant.
“We must avoid putting in charge Republicans who campaign as Republicans, but then vote for and advance the Democrats’ agenda once sworn in — that is, that we do not make the same mistakes in 2017,” Mr. Roy said in the letter.
“Therefore, with all due respect to my friend, Elise Stefanik, let us contemplate the message Republican leadership is about to send by rushing to coronate a spokesperson whose voting record embodies much of what led to the 2018 ass-kicking we received by Democrats.”
Mr. Roy highlighted parts of her voting record, including her opposition to the 2017 tax cuts and bills that aimed to tighten immigration.
David McIntosh, president of the Club for Growth, also has called on House Republicans to put more “conservative” lawmakers on the leadership team that could do more to excite the base of the party.
Responding to the pushback, Ms. Stefanik signaled she is confident she can win the job and get support from the House Republicans’ conservative members.
“We have a great deal of support from the Freedom Caucus and others,” Ms. Stefanik told reporters on Capitol Hill on Tuesday before boarding an elevator.
Ms. Cheney took to the House floor Tuesday to deliver her probable last stand — a defiant speech that proclaimed it her duty to defend American democracy against the threat of Mr. Trump.
“Today we face a threat America has never seen before. A former president, who provoked a violent attack on this Capitol in an effort to steal the election, has resumed his aggressive effort to convince Americans that the election was stolen from him. He risks inciting further violence,” said Ms. Cheney.
She said Mr. Trump, who refused to accept the election outcome and the rejection of his ballot fraud claims by more than 60 courts, was undermining democracy and the Constitution.
“Those who refuse to accept the rulings of our courts are at war with the Constitution,” she said. “Our duty is clear. Every one of us who has sworn the oath must act to prevent the unraveling of our democracy. This is not about policy. This is not about partisanship. This is about our duty as Americans. Remaining silent, and ignoring the lie, emboldens the liar.”