WASHINGTON — The conservative House Freedom Caucus is calling for the removal of Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois from the Republican caucus, an effort to punish the pair for joining the committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Cheney and Kinzinger were added to the committee by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a bid to ensure some Republican voices.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy initially named five additional Republicans to join the committee, but when Pelosi rejected two of them because of their past remarks, McCarthy withdraw all his picks, leaving only Cheney and Kinzinger.

"It was antithetical to have sitting in your conference, individuals who have professed they want to take out the minority leader," House Freedom Caucus Chair Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., said during a news conference Thursday.

In Congress, a party caucus or conference serves as the official arm of the party and organizes lawmakers' committees, leadership and other important roles.

Biggs wants to create a new rule for the Republican conference that any member who accepts a committee assignment outside the normal procedure "shall immediately cease to be a member of the conference."

The Jan. 6 committee held its first hearing Tuesday, hosting a panel of four police officers who detailed in emotional accounts their attempts to defend the building against a mob of supporters of then-President Donald Trump.

Cheney had earlier been ousted as chairwoman of the House Republican Conference after she criticized Trump and fellow Republicans for continuing to push false claims of fraud in the 2020 election.

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