VIDEO: [NBC News] Paul Ryan insisting that his firing of Father Pat Conroy as House Chaplain had to do with ‘pastoral services’ and nothing to do with politics.
No. 4 House Democrat Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.), who is Catholic, and Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.) got up in each other’s faces on the House floor and squabbled over the merits of a special investigation into the dismissal. The exchange was so heated that some lawmakers and aides watching worried they’d come to blows, though Crowley’s office said that was never going to happen.
The rare display of anger on the chamber floor, which is governed by strict rules of decorum, shows the forced resignation of Father Patrick Conroy remains a hot button issue. The standoff, in fact, came days after Ryan, under pressure internally and externally, backtracked on his decision to push out Conroy.
The confrontation started after Crowley offered a privilege resolution to establish a select committee to investigate Conroy’s forced resignation. Democrats have accused Republicans of discriminating against Catholics, though Ryan, himself a Catholic, has said his conference members had “pastoral needs” that weren’t being fulfilled.
Crowley had offered a similar resolution on the House floor two weeks ago after the controversy surrounding Conroy’s firing ignited a political firestorm on the Hill. Democrats forced a vote on the proposal, which failed, but not before a handful of Republicans voted in favor of the resolution or “present” in a show of solidarity about the chaplain’s dismissal.
After Crowley offered a similar resolution for a second time Tuesday, MacArthur walked over to the Democratic side of the chamber and accused Crowley of politicizing the issue. According to one source who witnessed it, MacArthur said he prays with Conroy regularly and he’s a Republican — so this is not a partisan issue and Crowley shouldn’t make it one.
MacArthur, who is Episcopalian, said he was offended by Crowley’s actions.
This article continues at [Politico] Shouting match erupts on House floor over chaplain