WASHINGTON (CNN) - Congressional Republicans intensified their calls Wednesday for powerful House Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel of New York to resign his post heading the committee, at least temporarily.
Rep. John Carter, R-Texas, introduced a motion that would have forced Rangel to step down during an ongoing ethics investigation into his finances and activities.
House Democrats responded by voting to shut off debate and instead send the resolution to the House Ethics Committee, where the matter has sat for a year. The move to effectively kill the resolution by sending it to the committee passed on a mostly party-line 246-153 vote.
The vote has no significant effect but shows Republicans are turning up the heat on Rangel and hoping to score political points by highlighting the ethics probe.
The prominent Harlem, New York, Democrat has been under investigation for a year over several issues, including hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of assets which allegedly he did not claim on financial disclosure forms. Rangel has admitted to failing to pay taxes on $75,000 in income from a rental property he owns in the Dominican Republic.
The Ways and Means committee is the lead body for writing tax law in the House.
Rangel has said he is the victim of a smear campaign by some in the media.
"The allegations were made by newspaper reporters, and I asked the Ethics Committee to review it and report back to Congress," he told CNN Wednesday. "If I was to step aside, it would mean that newspaper reporters could dictate and create clouds when really we should have a committee that has investigative forces that can search for the truth and report it."
Rangel also said that chairmen usually retain their posts when under an ethics investigation. When asked if the probe affects his abilities to lead the committee, he responded, "Not at all."
Rangel is one of three chairman crafting health care legislation. Some Democrats have said Republican moves against him are an attempt to derail that debate.
–CNN's Dana Bash and Deirdre Walsh contributed to this report.
Updated: 8:34 p.m.