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House Again Rejects Move to Form Select Committee on Chaplain Controversy

Republicans reluctant to back Crowley's resolution on second try

House Chaplain Patrick Conroy has been at the center of a simmering dispute over his resignation — and un-resignation. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
House Chaplain Patrick Conroy has been at the center of a simmering dispute over his resignation — and un-resignation. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Whatever bipartisan support Democrats had for probing the circumstances that led Speaker Paul D. Ryan to call for the House chaplain’s resignation appears to be gone now that Patrick J. Conroy has been reinstated to his post. 

The House on Tuesday approved a motion to table a privileged resolution offered by Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley of New York to form a select committee to look into the chaplain controversy. The motion was adopted 223-182.

Earlier in the day, Conroy was sworn in to his position at the beginning of the day’s session. 

The House had previously rejected a similar resolution offered by Crowley on April 27 before Conroy had requested to rescind his resignation and Ryan accepted.

Two Republicans, Reps. Tom Reed of New York and Patrick Meehan of Pennsylvania, joined Democrats on the initial vote in April. Reed voted with Republicans Tuesday. Meehan is no longer a member of Congress; the April 27 chaplain vote was his last before he resigned later that day.

Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., did vote on Tuesday with the Democrats against the motion to kill the Crowley’s resolution after voting with Republicans to do so in April. 

The only other Republican who might have also supported Crowley’s resolution, Rep. Walter B. Jones of North Carolina, was not present for Tuesday’s vote or the one in April.

Jones said in an interview Friday that he would’ve backed Crowley’s initial resolution and suggested he might still support a select committee. Tuesday is primary day in North Carolina. 

Republican frustration over Ryan’s decision to fire Conroy was real.

Some Republicans were talking with Democrats like Rep. Gerald E. Connolly about legislation to reinstate Conroy before he made his own move to rescind his resignation. With the chaplain now reinstated, there’s no need to further push the issue, one of those Republicans said, noting any attempt to do so would appear to be politically motivated.

During Tuesday’s vote, New Jersey Republican Rep. Tom MacArthur approached Crowley and said something that riled the New York Democrat up.

“Please move aside sir,” Crowley shouted at MacArthur after a brief heated argument that was mostly inaudible from the House press gallery. 

According to a Crowley aide, MacArthur said he was offended that Democrats are politicizing this and Crowley responded that he was offended the speaker made this decision in the first place.

Watch: The Prayer That Might Have Landed the Chaplain in Hot Water

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