Lawmakers have feisty exchange amid House chaplain vote

House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joseph Crowley (N.Y.) and Rep. Tom MacArthurThomas (Tom) Charles MacArthurChamber-backed Democrats embrace endorsements in final stretch Republican David Richter wins NJ primary in race to challenge Rep. Andy Kim What to watch in New Jersey's primaries on Tuesday MORE (R-N.J.) engaged in a heated exchange on the House floor Tuesday after the New York Democrat moved to set up a select committee to investigate the dismissal of House Chaplain Patrick Conroy.

MacArthur approached Crowley on the left side of the chamber on Tuesday afternoon, telling him he was "offended" by his words and "to stop making a fuss about Conroy," a Democratic lawmaker told The Hill. 

According to the lawmaker, Crowley then raised his voice, telling MacArthur he could go "be offended over on your side of the room, don't come over here to me."


Crowley, who is Catholic, had alleged that Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanPaul Ryan calls for Trump to accept results: 'The election is over' Bottom line Democratic anger rises over Trump obstacles to Biden transition MORE (R-Wis.) politicized the situation by asking for Conroy's resignation last month. The New York Democrat told MacArthur, who is Episcopalian, “I’m not the one politicizing this, the Speaker is politicizing this.”

House Minority Whip Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerDemocrats were united on top issues this Congress — but will it hold? Democrats face increasing pressure to back smaller COVID-19 stimulus Hoyer on Trump election challenges: 'I think this borders on treason' MORE (D-Md.) then separated the two lawmakers, according to sources in the room. 

The House on Tuesday ultimately voted to reject Crowley's resolution, which would have set up a select committee to investigate the Catholic chaplain's dismissal.

The measure, which also failed in late April, was reintroduced shortly after Ryan swore Conroy back into his position following the chaplain rescinding his resignation last week.

Crowley argued the select committee was necessary to look into the motivations behind Ryan’s move to oust Conroy.

Conroy announced his retirement in April, a decision most members thought was voluntary until it was revealed Ryan had pushed for his dismissal.

The chaplain told The New York Times he suspected the Wisconsin Republican called for his resignation over a prayer perceived as critical of the GOP tax law.

Ryan, who met with Conroy on Tuesday morning to discuss improving pastoral services, maintains politics did not play a role his decision.

“Father Pat and I had a good cup of coffee this morning. We talked about how to improve the services going forward," Ryan told reporters Tuesday. “I think ultimately we can make improvements. We're going to keep talking, and I feel good about where things are.”

Scott Wong and Melanie Zanona contributed.