Yesterday, news broke that House Speaker Paul Ryan had forced someone out of their job in Congress—and it’s probably the last person you’d think. According to his resignation letter, the chaplain for the House, Reverend Patrick Conroy, left his job because Ryan asked him to—not because he wanted to leave. Members of Congress from both parties have expressed outrage, and Representative Joe Crowley noted that Reverend Conroy is the first chaplain in history “who was ousted.”
Why would Ryan want Reverend Conroy out? Although Ryan’s spokeswoman denied that the request to resign was due to any of Conroy’s words or actions, many suspect that Ryan thought Conroy was becoming “too political” In fact, after the Conroy made comments about the Congressional majority’s tax bill in one of his prayers—saying it should be fair to all Americans—one of Ryan’s staffers approached Conroy, telling him people were upset with what he said.
It truly is the height of irony when Ryan—who once tweeted that religious freedom is a “fundamental constitutional principal” in America—forces out a religious leader that was speaking of key religious principles, including fairness and serving the poor. Ryan has made it clear where he draws the line: Trump spouting racist, transphobic, xenophobic rants and engaging in a culture of corruption? He can turn the other cheek. But Ryan will not sit idly by while a religious leader preaches values of social justice to the House.
ACTION OF THE DAY
Restoring the Right to Vote. In honor of #SecondChanceMonth, today national organizations are asking people to sign the pledge in support of Florida’s Voting Restoration Amendment. This amendment gives Florida voters the choice to return the eligibility to vote to 1.4 million Americans who have served their time and paid their debts. We need you to make your voice heard in order to show people from all walks of life who have made past mistakes, served time, and completed their sentences that America believes in redemption and forgiveness. Sign the pledge to show your support for Second Chances and Amendment 4. Check out Second Chance Florida’s website to learn more.
Trump Talks Loom. Today, North and South Korea signed an historic accord which committed them to “the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and pledged to bring a formal end to the Korean War, 65 years after hostilities ceased.” This is a big step forward, but it is not the end of the road. The meeting between the countries’ leaders confirmed two things: we are in the midst of necessary diplomacy with North Korea that could reduce tensions and address the threats posed by North Korea, but we are still unclear as to how any of that progress will happen and its sustainability. And Trump’s upcoming summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un still looms, with many questions on what Trump will do and how he will approach the meeting. In fact, Trump already seems confused by the whole process, saying yesterday that new Secretary of State Mike Pompeo “wasn’t supposed to meet with Kim Jong Un.”
New Intel Report. Today, the House Intelligence Committee released its final report on its investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign and ended the probe. The report “attempts to recast the Trump campaign as victims of a Russian counterintelligence campaign, [but] their active pursuit of contacts with Russian actors says otherwise.” The report also includes a recommendation to repeal the Logan Act, which would basically legalize private negotiation with foreign governments that are in disputes with the United States. It’s no surprise that this is the outcome of the probe, given that it’s been run by one of Trump’s closest congressional allies, Representative Devin Nunes. Now, it’s more important than ever before that Congress act to protect Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his investigation so that the truth can be uncovered.
The War on Medicaid Moves to Michigan. The war on Medicaid has now made its way to Michigan in the form of what may be the most heartless “work requirements” proposal yet. Tune into this week’s episode of Off-Kilter to hear from two experts from the University of Michigan, as well as Michigan State Senator Curtis Hertel Jr. You’ll also hear from Washington Post reporter Robert Samuels about “welfare reform,” as well as a candidate in Georgia who is running on a job guarantee.