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.
He should be in jail. But is is not due to the liberal double standards and outright LIES told by Pi-lousy.....
no bigger crook than charlie rangel.... this is the kind of leadership america is getting .... crooks.....
If this guy was a Republican, they would have taken him out and shot him years ago.
The double-standard is so apparent.
Pelosi is just as bad but hasn't got caught yet.
It makes me think that this incident could just be the tip of the iceberg.....what else doesn't he know? Is his staff that incompetent or is this just a regular practice with him? Was this letter really initiated by him or was he asked to write it to make him look cooperative and more honorable in the eyes of the voters and also making the democratic party
About time. We've known for a long time about this man's corrupt and criminal tendencies.
What a man of conscience. It only took how many months to do this ?
Rep. Charlie Rangel, it is time to step down altogether and leave publuic office as quickly ans quitely as you can possibly muster. Twenty terms is too long for any one. Hiding behind your direct report subordinate is a clear indication of your guilt and if only 1% of the additional allegations about you are true, then you are toast.
Rangel needs to step down permanently, and he doesn't do it voluntarily, the party should make him step down. I'm a liberal who believes that if you're going to talk the talk, you should walk the walk. That means Pelosi shouldn't be defending this dirtbag when she comes down hard on the Republicans. That's how you regain credibility in the eyes of the American public. Say what you mean and mean what you say.
Step aside? He should get thrown out.
"Rangel is a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus, which has 42 members in the House"......Sounds kinda racist to me.
I wonder if there is a Congressional White Caucus?
It's about time. Wonder why it took him so long to read the writing on the wall.
Goodbye Charlie. Purgutory isn't so bad.
Even though I'm true blue, I believe that Rangel needs to step down – and maybe leave the House altogether – if these allegations prove to be true. He cannot have any credibility on tax issues if it's found that he failed to pay required taxes and/or accepted banned corporate gifts.
I'm so tired of both parties looking the other way when it comes to "their own". We the people need to demand more of them. He should permanently step down.
Yet another tax avoiding dem, ironic that they love to raise our taxes but can’t stand to pay theirs. This guy should have been booted a couple years ago when he issued a bill to re-instate the draft!
Trying to get this straight on Tuesday night he said he woud not step down as chairman of the Way and Means Committee and on Wednesday morning he says he will step down as chairman of the Ways & Means Committee. Uh huh. Follow the bouncing liberal.
William "Cold Cash" Jefferson, Eliot "#9" Spitzer, David "I See Nothink!" Paterson, Rod "Senate Seats R Us" Blago, John "She's Not Having MY Baby – Oops" Edwards, Chris "Nationwide" Dodd, Charles "My Aids Did It" Rangel...
The saga continues. All Dems OUT in November...
Kick the bum out
Bye, bye, Superfly and take John McCain with you.We dont care what party your with or what color you are, your both stale old bread.You can all go sit on the porch in rocking chairs at the Republican nursing home.
Wow, What a guy. Others should follow his example.
Hypocritical democrats!! If he were Republican, he'd be long gone! The man is a crook, get rid of him!
Another corrupt dem who blames everyone but himself.
I'm glad he's stepped aside, even if it's only temporary until an investigation is completed. Ignorance of not knowing what his staff is accepting on his behalf is no excuse.
This guy is a crook but evidently has some pull form some VERY IMPORTANT PEOPLE in Washington and/or AT THE WHITE HOUSE. If he was a conservative, he'd have been kicked out long ago. He and some others need to be taken out of government positions if the President really wants the American people to think he is trying to bring the trust of the people back.
Prehaps, Charlie should permanently step down as Chairman of Ways and Means to spare the Democrats any further embarrassment and discreditation. Leaving on a permanent basis would put to rest the issue and take a weapon away from the Republicans. The Democrats cannot afford to have a Democratic member of Congress, especially one who is in a very powerful position, be embroiled in an ethics controversy. Democrats have paid a huge price sixteen years ago for the Bill Clinton Scandal–They lost the Whitehouse along with their majority. The Republicans lost their majority and the Whitehouse as a result of the Mark Foley Scandal and George W. Bush's poor leadership and deception on the Iraq war. History has a nasty way of repeating its self and the Democrats and their supporters definitely do not want a repeated loss.