GOP lawmaker calls on Ryan to reinstate House chaplain

GOP lawmaker calls on Ryan to reinstate House chaplain
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A GOP lawmaker is calling on Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanAmash: Trump incorrect in claiming Congress didn't subpoena Obama officials Democrats hit Scalia over LGBTQ rights Three-way clash set to dominate Democratic debate MORE (R-Wis.) to reinstate the ousted House chaplain and is questioning whether the controversial dismissal followed proper protocols.

In a letter to the Speaker on Wednesday, Rep. Walter JonesWalter Beaman JonesRepublican Greg Murphy wins special election in NC's 3rd District Early voting extended in NC counties impacted by Dorian ahead of key House race The Hill's Campaign Report: North Carolina special election poses test for GOP ahead of 2020 MORE (R-N.C.) expressed “deep disappointment” with Ryan for forcing chaplain Patrick Conroy to resign, saying the move appeared to be carried out in a way that was “intentionally underhanded.”

Under House rules, the resignation of the chaplain is subject to approval from the chamber. But Jones pointed out in his letter that Conroy’s forced resignation letter was read on the House floor after a late-night Monday vote series when not many members were present.

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“After Father Conroy’s short, six-sentence letter was read, the Speaker Pro Tempore … immediately gaveled the matter to a close. From start to finish, the matter took less than a minute,” wrote Jones, a devout Catholic.

“There was no objection quite simply because few members, if any, were both present on the floor and aware of the action taking place to actually voice their disapproval.” 

Jones said the entire process reflects “poorly” on both the House and the Constitution. He also accused the Speaker of trying to “minimize the input of members … to overcome what was likely to be their overwhelming objection.”

In the letter, Jones urged Ryan to use his authority — or bring a privileged resolution to the floor — to reinstate Conroy to serve the remaining eight months of his term.

Conroy's last day is currently supposed to be May 24, according to his resignation letter.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers, including Jones, have also sent a letter to Ryan demanding more answers about his decision late last month to oust the chaplain, though they have yet to receive a response from the Speaker.

Ryan, who is also Catholic, has defended his move both publicly and privately.

The Speaker said that he asked for Conroy’s resignation because some Republicans complained that their “pastoral needs” were not being met.

Ryan told members of the House that his decision had nothing to do with politics, prayer or a policy conflict.

The Speaker will be tasking a bipartisan selection committee with finding Conroy’s replacement.