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The resolution will advance to the full 168-member voting body for an up-or-down vote on Friday.
In the hours leading up to the vote Thursday, RNC members successfully lobbied sponsors of the resolution to water it down from a previous version that called for the expulsion of Cheney and Kinzinger from the House Republican conference. Citing concerns that the original draft went too far in its public rebuke of the two Republican lawmakers, sources told CNN that the language had been changed to ensure its passage out of the resolutions committee.
A separate effort to table the resolution failed to gather majority support earlier in the day, which paved the way for its consideration by the resolutions committee, according to a person familiar with the matter.
“A lot of folks had asked for it to be watered down,” said New Jersey committeeman Bill Palatucci.
A person familiar with the deliberations said RNC officials had acknowledged the unprecedented nature of the resolution while it was being discussed by the resolutions committee Thursday afternoon. One committee member said it could open the door for future censures of elected Republicans who have upset the party’s base or made controversial comments.
The resolution’s passage out of the resolutions committee came hours after former President Donald Trump had blasted the House select panel in a series of statements Thursday morning.
“Why isn’t the corrupt Unselect Committee of political hacks and highly partisan sleazebags in Washington investigating the massive voter fraud and irregularities that took place in the 2020 President Election, rather than spending all of its time investigating those who were protesting its result?” Trump wrote in a statement released by his Save America PAC.
Despite Trump’s repeated falsehoods, there is no evidence of widespread voting fraud in the 2020 election.
Cheney responded to the proposed resolution, saying it was a “sad day.”
“If the price of being willing to tell the truth and get to the bottom of what happened on January 6, and make sure that those who are responsible are held accountable is a censure, then I am absolutely going to continue to stand up for what I knew was right,” the Wyoming Republican told CNN. “And I think that it is a sad day for the party of Lincoln that that’s where we are.”
In a statement posted on Twitter, Kinzinger said, “Rather than focus their efforts on how to help the American people, my fellow Republicans have chosen to censure two lifelong Members of their party for simply upholding their oaths of office. They’ve allowed conspiracies and toxic tribalism hinder their ability to see clear-eyed.”
The Illinois Republican added that his efforts will “continue to be focused on standing up for truth and working to fight the political matrix that’s led us to this point.”
In its original form, the resolution pushing for Cheney’s and Kinzinger’s ousters from the House Republican conference would have put both House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a California Republican who has ignored such entreaties from some of his members, and RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel in an awkward position. Last November, McDaniel said Cheney was “obviously still a Republican” despite her criticism of Trump and participation in the January 6 probe.
McDaniel will deliver remarks here Friday morning, though it is unclear whether she will weigh in on the high-profile resolution before it is voted on by the entire body.
This story has been updated with further developments Thursday.
CNN’s Melanie Zanona and Veronica Stracqualursi contributed to this report.