News & Politics

Paul Ryan Reportedly Forced the House Chaplain to Resign for Praying in Favor of 'Balanced' Tax Reform

The Hill reports that the speaker said he would fire the chaplain if he didn't resign, over Democratic objections.

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

House Speaker Paul Ryan forced the chamber's chaplain Patrick Conroy to resign, according to a new report from The Hill. While the nonpartisan position is not generally a source of much controversy, Ryan reportedly forced Conroy out for, at least in part, a prayer he offered at the beginning of 2017's tax reform debate that struck the speaker as biased. 

"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 in a prayer in November, according to The Hill. "May their efforts these days guarantee that there are not winners and losers under new tax laws, but benefits balanced and shared by all Americans."

The tax reform that eventually passed the House was not "balanced" — it is expected to add at least a $1 trillion to the deficit while delivering the largest benefits to wealthy people and corporations. 

At least two sources suggested to the paper that this speech, which Ryan saw as partisan, was the reason for his firing. But one Democratic aide also reportedly said that Republicans didn't like when Conroy invited a Muslim to deliver an opening prayer.

Pelosi's office said she objected to the moves to force Conroy out, though Ryan's spokeswoman AshLee Strong denied this.

Democrats were reportedly "shocked" and "furious" Thursday when they heard the chaplain had been forced to leave.

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Cody Fenwick is a reporter and editor. Follow him on Twitter @codytfenwick.