A shouting match between a Democrat and a Republican over the firing of House chaplain Rev. Pat Conroy became so heated Tuesday evening that witnesses thought one of them might throw a punch. It began when GOP Rep. Tom MacArthur walked to the Democratic side of the floor and accused Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley of "politicizing" the firing with a resolution for a special investigation of it, CNN reports. During the ensuing squabble, Crowley banged his fist on the table, gestured for MacArthur to get back to his side of the chamber, and shouted that he was offended by the firing of the chaplain, adding that House Speaker Paul Ryan was the one who had politicized things by forcing Conroy to resign.
A source tells Politico that MacArthur, an Episcopalian, told Crowley, who is Catholic, that it wasn't a partisan issue because he is a Republican and he regularly prays with the Catholic chaplain. House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer eventually calmed the men down. "In New Jersey, we don't back down from people," MacArthur later said, per ABC7. "You know he's 6'4'', I'm 5'6''. If he wants to take a punch at me, you know let him have at it." Crowley's office says the argument would never have come to blows. Conroy was reinstated this week after rescinding the resignation he said Ryan had asked him to sign. Ryan says he met with Conroy over a cup of coffee Tuesday and they "absolutely" agreed to put the episode behind them.