GOP Rejects Bid To Probe House Chaplain’s Firing

UNITED STATES - APRIL 11: Rev. Patrick Conroy, Chaplain of the House, attends the 2013 National Days of Remembrance ceremony in the Capitol rotunda to honor the victims of the Holocaust. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call Group

The House of Representatives on Friday rejected a resolution put forward by Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-NY) to establish a select committee to investigate Speaker Paul Ryan’s firing of House Chaplain Rev. Patrick Conroy.

Only two Republicans — Reps. Tom Reed (R-NY) and Patrick Meehan (R-PA)— voted with the Democrats against tabling the resolution. The final tally was 215 votes to table against 171 not to table, with three Republicans only voting “present.”

Some other Republicans have reportedly voiced their opposition to Ryan’s move, including Rep. Peter King (R-NY) who said, according to CNN’s Jim Sciutto, “It is such an unprecedented action to only be taken for very, very serious issues. And the speaker said it was just because certain people said he…was not giving good counsel. I never heard that from anyone.”

Nevertheless, King voted with the majority of Republicans to table the motion.

According to the Washington Post, Ryan met with House Republicans Friday morning, assuring them that he fired Conroy due to members’ complaints, not because of any political reason.

Some have speculated that the firing is a result of a prayer Conroy said on the day the House was marking up the GOP tax bill. In the prayer, Conroy expressed the hope that the bill not create “winners and losers” but that its benefits be “balanced and shared by all.”

Ryan’s explanation was not enough for the Democrats and two Republicans who stood together as Crowley and others read comments praising the Jesuit priest and condemning his dismissal.

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