Washington (CNN) – Rep. Charlie Rangel announced Wednesday that he intends to temporarily step aside as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.
The 20-term New York Democrat told reporters he had submitted a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi requesting a temporary leave of absence until the conclusion of a broad-reaching House ethics committee investigation.
Rangel had told reporters Tuesday night he had no plans to step aside from his powerful post. The Ways and Means Committee is responsible for drafting the nation's tax policies.
Rangel is currently being investigated for, among other things, failing to pay taxes on a home in the Dominican Republic.
He was formally admonished Friday by the House ethics committee for violating rules on receiving gifts. Specifically, the committee found that Rangel violated House gift rules by accepting reimbursement payments for travel to conferences in the Caribbean in 2007 and 2008.
Rangel's staff, according to the committee, knew that corporations had given money to the Carib News, which sponsored the events. That fact had not been divulged to the ethics committee when Rangel asked for and received approval to attend the trips, according to the committee's report. The committee found that while Rangel did not know about the contributions, he was nevertheless responsible.
A source told CNN Tuesday that if Rangel stepped aside, senior Ways and Means Democrat Pete Stark would take over as the committee's chairman "on a temporary basis."
House Republicans planned to introduce a resolution Wednesday calling on Rangel to step aside and again force House Democrats to go on record defending
House Democrats have blocked previous GOP resolutions on the House floor, but several Democrats in competitive districts have come out publicly in recent days, saying they thought it was time for Rangel to step down.
Rangel is a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus, which has 42 members in the House.