House rejects measure to set up panel to investigate chaplain’s dismissal

Greg Nash

The House rejected a resolution on Friday that would have set up a select committee to investigate Patrick Conroy’s dismissal as House chaplain.

In a 215-171 mostly party-line vote, the House turned aside the measure from House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley’s (N.Y.), who argued it was necessary to look into the “motivations and actions” behind Conroy’s dismissal.

Conroy announced his retirement as chaplain earlier this month, a decision most members thought was voluntary until Thursday, when it emerged that Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) had pushed him out.

{mosads}Ryan told GOP lawmakers during a meeting on Friday that politics did not play a role in the dismissal, saying that Conroy had not met the “pastoral needs” of lawmakers.

Democrats have said that they believe Conroy was pushed out at least in part because of a prayer perceived as critical of the GOP tax law, a sentiment the former chaplain also echoed in an interview with The New York Times.

Ryan told Republicans that the chaplain’s exit did not have anything to do with the prayer.

Crowley said Conroy’s dismissal was “not reflective of the integrity of the House.”

A few Republicans offered support for Crowley’s resolution, and two — GOP Reps. Pat Meehan (Pa.) and Tom Reed (N.Y.) — stood with Democrats behind Crowley on the floor.

Republican Reps. Scott Taylor (Va.) David Joyce (Ohio) and Thomas Rooney (Fla.) voted present. 

Crowly said he will push for more answers when lawmakers return from recess. 

“Well I think that we have time to discuss it amongst our colleagues and when we get back there’ll be further action,” he told The Hill. 

The New York Democrat said he hasn’t spoken to Ryan about Conroy since the news broke, but attempted to find him on the House floor Thursday to discuss the situation.

—Melanie Zanona contributed. 

Tags David Joyce House chaplain Joe Crowley Pat Meehan Paul Ryan Scott Taylor Tom Reed

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