Connect with us

Politics

Lawmakers demand answers from Speaker Paul Ryan over House chaplain’s ouster

Published

on

Pelosi said that Ryan told lawmakers it was “because the chaplain is not administering to the pastoral needs of the Congress.”

“It can wait until next year and then have a new chaplain,” Pelosi said. “You’re touching a very bad nerve here. This is about faith. This is about freedom of speech.”

Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong said Thursday: “The speaker consulted with the minority leader, but the decision (to leave) was (Conroy’s). He remains grateful for Father Conroy’s service.”

Before the House left Washington Friday for a week-long recess, a large group of House Democrats gathered on the floor of the chamber behind Rep. Joe Crowley, D-N.Y., chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, who offered a resolution that would have set up a select committee to investigate Ryan’s motivation for the ouster.

Two House Republicans — Reps. Patrick Meehan of Pennsylvania and Tom Reed of New York — stood with the Democrats. Republicans immediately voted to table the resolution.

Meanwhile, at least 148 members sent a letter Ryan requesting more information about Conroy’s ouster.

“The sensitive nature of this situation requires a description of the process followed to arrive at the decision and a justification for that decision,” said the letter, spearheaded by Reps. Gerry Connolly, D-Va.; Walter Jones, R-N.C.; Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio; and Carol Shea Porter, D-N.H. “We believe that, absent such details, questions will inevitably arise about the politicization of the process for hiring and dismissing a House chaplain. Not revealing such details could also risk resurrecting prior questions of religious bias.”

Kaptur said Ryan didn’t have the authority to force out Conroy.

“It is not the speaker’s prerogative to terminate an officer of the House without a vote of the House,” she told reporters.

Image: Patrick Conroy
Rev. Patrick Conroy, Chaplain of the House, attends the 2013 National Days of Remembrance ceremony in the Capitol rotunda to honor the victims of the Holocaust.Tom Williams / CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images

Rep. Mark Walker, R-Ala., chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee, told reporters he had heard of some members who took issue with Conroy.

“I cannot give you any information on what the issue was. The only that we know is that members went to Speaker Ryan with concerns about Father Conroy,” he said.

Walker, a Baptist minister himself, suggested Friday that he would prefer that the next chaplain have experience ministering to families.

“Having spent 16 years in ministry as a pastor, there are things that you are able to understand that families go through in dealing with. It doesn’t mean you have to have to have your own,” Walker said.

On Thursday, Conroy’s resignation letter dated April 15 surfaced, which made clear that Ryan had asked him to resign.

“I’m very sorry Father Conroy was forced to resign as a House Chaplain. He is a good man. No explanation and no consultation,” Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., one of two Muslim members of Congress, tweeted on Friday.

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y., called it a “shameful anti-Catholic move motivated by conservative extremists in Congress.”

Conroy, whose last day as chaplain is May 24, said Thursday in an interview with The New York Times that he doesn’t know why he was asked to step aside.

“I was asked to resign, that is clear,” Conroy said, adding that the reason was “unclear.”

Conroy has been blunt in some of his remarks, including a prayer about the GOP tax bill that he offered on the House floor on Nov. 6, 2017, before the legislation was passed and signed into law by President Donald Trump.

“As legislation on taxes continues to be debated this week and next, may all members be mindful that the institutions and structures of our great nation guarantee the opportunities that have allowed some to achieve great success, while others continue to struggle,” Conroy said.

Conroy told The Times that a week after the prayer, someone from the Speaker’s office came to see him.

“A staffer came down and said, ‘We are upset with this prayer; you are getting too political’,” Conroy said he was told. “It suggests to me that there are members who have talked to him about being upset with that prayer.”

Later, Conroy said, Ryan told him, “Padre, you just got to stay out of politics.”

King said Friday that Ryan denied that the tax prayer was the reason for Conroy’s ouster and that it was solely because the chaplain did not provide “good service to the members.”

Meanwhile, some Republicans defended Ryan.

“There were questions about responsiveness,” Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., said about Conroy. “And it just seemed like, like it was time for a change.”



Source link

Politics

Really, Nicola? SNP blunder as £700k spent on ‘political propaganda’ thank-you letters

Published

on

NICOLA Sturgeon is facing a backlash after the Scottish Government splashed out more than £700,000 on COVID-19 thank-you letters.

Source link

Continue Reading

Politics

Glad we left? EU chief admits it will be difficult to vaccinate 70% of adults by summer

Published

on

THE European Union has admitted that reaching its goal of vaccinating 70 percent of the bloc’s adult population against Covid by summer will be “difficult”.

Source link

Continue Reading

Politics

Biden to reinstate Trump Covid travel restrictions, impose new ban on South Africa

Published

on

President Joe Biden plans to sign restrictions Monday on travel to the United States to mitigate Covid-19 transmission, two White House officials confirmed Sunday.

The ban would prevent most non-U.S. citizens from entry if they have recently been in South Africa where a new strain of Covid-19 has been identified. The virus has claimed more than 418,000 American lives and infected upwards of 25 million across the U.S., according to an NBC News tracker.

The president is also expected to reinstate broader restrictions that were in effect much of the past year but rescinded by then-President Donald Trump days before his term ended. Those limits would affect non-U.S. citizens traveling from the United Kingdom, Ireland and much of Europe under what is known as the Schengen countries who share a common visa process. Travelers from Brazil would also be affected.

Reuters was first to report on the restrictions.

Before Biden took office, incoming White House press secretary Jen Psaki in a tweet criticized Trump’s decision to rescind the bans he had implemented.

“With the pandemic worsening, and more contagious variants emerging around the world, this is not the time to be lifting restrictions on international travel,” she said.

The restrictions, which Trump rolled back on Jan. 18, were set to take effect on Tuesday.

The CDC also said Sunday that, effective Jan. 26, it would no longer consider exceptions to its requirement that international travelers present a negative coronavirus test. Airlines had asked the agency to relax the rule for some countries with limited testing capacity.

“As variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus continue to emerge in countries around the world, there is growing evidence of increased transmissibility of some of these variants, as well as unknown health and vaccine implications,” a CDC spokesman said in a statement. “Testing before and after travel is a critical layer to slow the introduction and spread of COVID-19 and emerging variants.”



Source link

Continue Reading

Trending