House of Representatives

Ryan Suddenly Ousts House Chaplain

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) dismissed the Rev. Patrick Conroy this month as chaplain of the chamber, “an unusual decision that angered some of the Jesuit priest’s allies in Congress,” the Washington Post reports.

“During Thursday evening votes, after news broke of Conroy’s dismissal, lawmakers in both parties voiced concern, particularly Catholics.”

New York Times: “Father Conroy’s resignation is all the more contentious in Catholic circles because Mr. Ryan is a Catholic conservative, whereas Father Conroy is a Jesuit, a branch that is viewed by some as more liberal.”

Ryan Snuffs Out Efforts to Accelerate His Departure

Washington Post: “Inside a closed-door meeting of lawmakers at the Capitol Hill Club, Ryan told his fellow Republicans that he had spoken to virtually all of the top GOP donors with whom he has developed relationships over his two-and-a-half years as speaker and had gotten assurances that they would continue to give through the 2018 cycle.”

“That was widely interpreted as a direct rebuttal to fears that Ryan’s fundraising would drop off a cliff as he remains a lame duck — which emerged last week as a prime argument for a quicker departure. Ryan said … that no fundraisers have been canceled and that he fully intended to maintain, if not exceed, his current fundraising pace in the coming months.”

Freedom Caucus Wants Concessions from McCarthy

“The Freedom Caucus is prepared to exact a price from Kevin McCarthy if he wants to be the next speaker of the House — three years after foiling his first bid for the job,” Politico reports.

“A survey of about 20 of the conservative group’s three dozen members found varying degrees of openness to the California Republican known as a deal-making pragmatist. But nearly all the hard-liners said he’ll have to make concessions to win their support. Without it, they could block his path to the speakership.”

Why Blake Farenthold Resigned So Abrubtly

HuffPost: “The House Ethics Committee was about to rule against Farenthold in its investigation into whether he sexually harassed members of his staff, used official money for campaign purposes and lied in previous testimony to the committee.”

“The committee gave Farenthold a heads-up about its coming decision… By stepping down, Farenthold was able to avoid whatever punishment the committee would have handed down.”

Trump Told to Stay Out of Speaker’s Race

President Trump wanted to endorse House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy to succeed outgoing Speaker Paul Ryan but is being advised not to back a candidate in the race, ABC News reports.

“A source close to the White House said Trump’s advisors are concerned that the endorsement could complicate the contest, and Trump’s future relationship with the next GOP leader should his preferred candidate lose or decide not to run.”

Crowley Prepares Bid If Pelosi Falls Short

“Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY) — buoyed by a caucus thirsty for change and his rising national profile — is angling to become the next House Democratic leader if Nancy Pelosi and other top Democrats fall short,” Politico reports.

“Whether Democrats win the House majority or not, the affable Queens party boss and current Democratic Caucus chairman would have to first go through the party’s long-time septuagenarian leaders — Pelosi, Steny Hoyer and Jim Clyburn — who’ve shown no hurry to head for the exits. In fact, the three have already started sending strong signals that if Democrats take the House they’re prepared to beat back a younger generation clamoring for new leaders.”

Some Republicans See Speaker Race as an Open Field

“In endorsing his top lieutenant as his successor, House Speaker Paul Ryan has sought to project an air of inevitability around Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and lock in the California Republican’s status as the heir apparent,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“It is a perception that could be hard to sustain.”

“Many members of the House Republican conference say the race is wide open and will be so long as Mr. Ryan maintains his plans to stay through the end of the year. They are also openly discussing it as a chance for several candidates to compete.”

Paul Ryan Was No Visionary

Ross Douthat: “The mistake about Paul Ryan, the one that both friends and foes made over the years between his Obama-era ascent and his just-announced departure from the House speakership, was to imagine him as a potential protagonist for our politics, a lead actor in the drama of conservatism, a visionary or a villain poised to put his stamp upon the era.”

“But the real Ryan was never suited for these roles. He was miscast as a visionary when he was fundamentally a party man — a diligent and policy-oriented champion for whatever the institutional G.O.P. appeared to want, a pilot who ultimately let the party choose the vessel’s course. And because the institutional G.O.P. during his years was like a bayou airboat with a fire in its propeller and several alligators wrestling midship, an unhappy end for his career was all-but-foreordained.”

Paul Ryan, Flimflam Man

Paul Krugman: “Incredibly, I’m seeing some news reports about his exit that portray him as a serious policy wonk and fiscal hawk who, sadly, found himself unable to fulfill his mission in the Trump era. Unbelievable.”

“Look, the single animating principle of everything Ryan did and proposed was to comfort the comfortable while afflicting the afflicted. Can anyone name a single instance in which his supposed concern about the deficit made him willing to impose any burden on the wealthy, in which his supposed compassion made him willing to improve the lives of the poor?”

“And his ‘deficit reduction’ proposals were always frauds. The revenue loss from tax cuts always exceeded any explicit spending cuts, so the pretense of fiscal responsibility came entirely from ‘magic asterisks’: extra revenue from closing unspecified loopholes, reduced spending from cutting unspecified programs. I called him a flimflam man back in 2010, and nothing he has done since has called that judgment into question.”

Ryan Backs McCarthy to Replace Him

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) told NBC News that he has endorsed House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to replace him as Speaker.

Said Ryan: “We all think that Kevin is the right person.”

Axios: “House Republicans are in an exceptionally tough spot for the midterms, and Ryan’s decision to not run for reelection only added to concerns that Democrats have a shot at becoming majority. But having a clear replacement in place, like McCarthy who is known and trusted within the GOP, Republicans have a someone they can rally behind as Nov. 6 edges closer.”

Farenthold Quit Without Paying Back Settlement

The House Ethics Committee called for former Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX) to honor his pledge to repay an $84,000 taxpayer settlement to end a sexual harassment case, the Houston Chronicle reports.

“The bipartisan committee, in a unanimous statement, said that while it no longer has jurisdiction over the Corpus Christi Republican, it encouraged him ‘in the strongest possible terms’ to make good on his promise to pay back the settlement stemming from a 2015 sexual harassment case brought by Lauren Greene, a former staffer in his Washington office.”