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Fight over chaplain leads to shouting match between lawmakers on House floor

Just when it seemed like the ...

Posted: May 9, 2018 11:43 AM
Updated: May 9, 2018 11:43 AM

Just when it seemed like the fury surrounding the chaplain for the US House of Representatives was over.

As House members were wrapping up votes Tuesday night, a remarkably heated exchange erupted on the floor, with one congressman shouting, aggressively pointing his finger, and -- at one point -- banging his fist on a table as he sharply criticized another member.

Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley of New York attempted to offer a resolution to form a committee to investigate the forced resignation of the Rev. Pat Conroy, the House chaplain. Crowley, a Catholic, made a similar motion last month after questions arose over the resignation.

As his resolution was in the process of being tabled due to GOP opposition on Tuesday, Republican Rep. Tom MacArthur of New Jersey walked over to Crowley on the Democratic side of the House floor and accused him of "politicizing" the chaplain controversy.

"I just walked up afterward and said 'Joe.' He turned. I said, 'You need to let go of this,'" MacArthur later told reporters.

RELATED: The House chaplain is staying, and so are the questions about his failed ousting

After a few more words were exchanged, Crowley, a towering 6'5'' figure whose face turned red with anger, grew visibly upset and could be heard from across the room shouting that he was "offended" by the chaplain incident.

"I'm not the one politicizing this," Crowley yelled, loud enough to be overheard by a handful of reporters sitting in the press gallery above the House floor.

"The speaker is politicizing this," he shouted, a reference to House Speaker Paul Ryan's office having requested Conroy resign in the first place.

Recalling the incident, MacArthur said that Crowley "ordered" him to go back to the Republican side of the floor, to which MacArthur objected.

"In New Jersey, we don't back down from people," MacArthur said. "This is a guy who wants to be speaker and he's so thin-skinned that he can't take criticism from another member of Congress? I think that speaks for itself."

Things appeared to calm down quickly and Crowley could be seen laughing and joking around with colleagues soon after. Crowley, who's widely seen as friendly and mild-mannered among Democrats, was not available for comment. His spokeswoman acknowledged that the two men got into a heated conversation but argued there was no escalation.

Earlier Thursday, the House chaplain was re-appointed to his position so that he could remain chaplain after he rescinded his resignation last week and it was accepted by Ryan. Tensions have run high as members of parties questioned why Ryan requested the chaplain to resign last month. Following the outcry, Conroy rescinded his resignation and accused Ryan's chief of staff of suggesting to him "maybe it's time that we had a Chaplain that wasn't a Catholic" -- an allegation Ryan's chief of staff denied.

Ryan accepted Conroy's decision to stay and said Tuesday morning -- before the evening's heated exchange -- that he had confidence the chamber could move past the issue.

"We talked about how to improve the services going forward," Ryan said during his weekly news conference. "We're going to keep talking. I think we can ultimately make improvements so that everybody has access to the pastoral services they're looking for."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 248189

Reported Deaths: 5411
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto16841171
Hinds15890312
Harrison13037191
Rankin10439205
Jackson10128177
Lee8721135
Madison8071160
Jones6166108
Forrest5870117
Lauderdale5724177
Lowndes5238109
Lafayette486192
Lamar475363
Washington4734122
Bolivar3941106
Oktibbeha388179
Panola360475
Pontotoc358752
Monroe3487103
Warren337895
Union337457
Marshall336065
Neshoba3325150
Pearl River319492
Leflore2980104
Lincoln293385
Sunflower277569
Tate266659
Alcorn260651
Itawamba258858
Pike258176
Hancock253557
Prentiss242450
Scott241043
Yazoo237754
Copiah237449
Tippah236246
Simpson232367
Leake227864
Coahoma223154
Grenada215770
Covington208871
Marion206171
Adams201666
Winston198061
George197438
Wayne196130
Attala191658
Newton186542
Chickasaw181243
Tishomingo179659
Holmes167867
Jasper165134
Clay156732
Stone140218
Tallahatchie138234
Clarke136460
Calhoun133321
Smith118823
Yalobusha113834
Walthall111136
Noxubee109622
Greene108929
Montgomery108134
Carroll103721
Lawrence101217
Perry99131
Amite96425
Webster90624
Claiborne85125
Tunica84521
Jefferson Davis83825
Humphreys81524
Benton80323
Kemper75720
Quitman6758
Franklin65315
Choctaw59613
Wilkinson58125
Jefferson53019
Sharkey42417
Issaquena1586
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 417528

Reported Deaths: 6030
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson61313888
Mobile29768542
Madison26637185
Tuscaloosa20580268
Montgomery18696304
Shelby18310113
Baldwin16002179
Lee12261101
Morgan12093112
Etowah11604157
Calhoun10982200
Marshall10108107
Houston8474129
Cullman7960104
Limestone790174
Elmore7723101
DeKalb764697
St. Clair7460120
Lauderdale745183
Talladega6102108
Walker5852174
Jackson574441
Blount526483
Colbert525670
Autauga510355
Coffee434256
Dale391081
Franklin363445
Chilton333565
Covington326167
Russell323810
Escambia312442
Dallas300296
Clarke278233
Chambers277869
Tallapoosa2599107
Pike245829
Marion240549
Lawrence240447
Winston223835
Bibb213047
Geneva197431
Marengo197329
Pickens195231
Hale173742
Barbour171236
Butler167958
Fayette166026
Cherokee159630
Henry151119
Monroe144417
Randolph138535
Washington136526
Clay125246
Crenshaw118044
Lamar116619
Cleburne116023
Macon113335
Lowndes108735
Wilcox101221
Bullock98128
Perry95419
Conecuh92920
Sumter88726
Greene75323
Coosa60414
Choctaw51224
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