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.
Read Rangel's letter to Pelosi [PDF]
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.
ITS A GOOD move for him and the democratic party. To take a leave of absense is fine, and to wait till the final report. Jane
Rangel really needs to step down. Term limits should be enforced to avoid issues such as this.
keep going Chuckles. make it permanent and then step ALLL the way down
He needs to be gone for good along with 500 others!
Make it permanent.......out with this tax evading crook....forever.
Having grown up and resided in NYC for decades, I'm familiar with Rep. Rangel. He's an "institution" in Harlem. However, I find it ludicrous that as chairman of the committee that sets the nation's TAX policies he would commit the "oversight" of NOT paying taxes on his home in Dominican! It would be funny if it did'nt also smell like the tip of an iceberg. Let the digging begin on your past activities Mr. Rangel. It's hard to walk the straight ad narrow when you've been in gov't for as long as you have,and walk away unscathed. Good luck.
He should write a book titled 'the ways and means to get really rich while serving as a congressman'
"The 20-term New York Democrat "
Maybe, just maybe, this is part of the problem. The founders never envisioned a public servant to be in office for 40 years.
He should step down permanently since he failed to pay taxes – what was it – over $10,000. How could someone be in charge of that and fail to pay. What would happen to us if we did that! Dare I say the IRS would be after us in a heart beat. Our government needs an overhaul – I don't care what your political party!
Permanent and NOT temporary!
I guess this is what Nancy Pelosi meant when she said she was going to clean up the corruption in congress. A sleight of hand tactic by Rangel to try to let the furor die down then sneak back in and continue doing things his way
Charlie, you're just the first in a long line of committee chairman that will step down within a year.
The remainder of chairmen will be replaced by an election.
Rangel is a disgrace. If he was a Republican the Attorney General would be looking into his affairs. What a farce Pelosi is with all that, "the most ethical Congress ever" trash. She is a joke and Rangel is a tax cheat and the face of how there are one set of laws for every day Americans and its a free lunch for Congressman. Scumbag Extraordinare & DNC head of Ways and Means – WOW.
Its about time. obama please follow suit. We must rid the White House of all trash.
Just retire already! What is it with these people working well into their 70's and 80's???? They must have really easy jobs with great salaries!
And this is coming from a Dem!
Rangel should give up the chairmanship at least until the ethics investigation has been concluded.
TO THE LEFT – TO THE LEFT
Everything you own and your briefcase too....LOL
Well, this is a good move while things get straightened out!!! Dang, stop trying to LIVE LARGE and not know why?????
He should keep stepping right over to jail.