Get insights on the latest news in US politics from Jon Lieber, head of Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington:
Lots of drama to start the year on Capitol Hill. First, you had an insurgency on January 6th, followed by an impeachment of the President of the United States, accompanied by magnetometers being installed on the floor of the House of Representatives because the Democratic members thought the Republican members were trying to carry in guns with which to hurt them. Accusations that some of the Republican members may have been aiding the insurgents in that 6 January riot. Not a lot of evidence for that, but it does show there's a lot of bad partisan will between the two parties, right now. And that is culminating this week with a vote to potentially expel freshman member Marjorie Taylor Greene from her committee assignments in the House of Representatives.
In previous instances, where members of Congress were outspoken and used rather inflammatory language, the Republicans voted to strip former member Steve King of his committee assignments on the basis of him using some inflammatory language about white supremacy. But in this case, the Republicans argue that Marjorie Taylor Greene's comments on social media before she was a member of the House of Representatives don't quite rise to the level that she should be stripped of her committees. The reality is, she's an ally of the <former> President Donald Trump and the Republicans want to stay in his good graces in order to help them in the 2022 midterms. So, the Democrats are taking matters into their own hands, setting up a vote to strip her of committee assignments, which potentially could lead to a path, if Republicans take the majority in two years, where they retaliate against Democrats that they don't like. You're already seeing some Republicans talk about that.
At the other end of the spectrum, you've got Representative Liz Cheney, daughter of the former vice president and a rock-solid conservative by any metric, who voted to impeach President Donald Trump, and now there's members of the Republican conference that want to see her pay a price for that. I think ultimately, she probably ends up keeping her job with the support of leader Kevin McCarthy. But the fact that this division is happening, where Republicans are rallying around Marjorie Taylor Greene and potentially want to take the leadership position away from Liz Cheney is an indication of where the Republican Party is going. And it looks like it's going in a more Trumpy direction even after former President Trump is out of office.