March 3rd, 2010
09:42 AM ET
10 years ago

Rangel to temporarily step down as House Ways & Means chair

Rangel announced Wednesday that he intends to temporarily step aside as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.

Rangel announced Wednesday that he intends to temporarily step aside as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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.

Filed under: Charlie Rangel
soundoff (43 Responses)
  1. Jane

    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

    March 3, 2010 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  2. jm for sc

    Rangel really needs to step down. Term limits should be enforced to avoid issues such as this.

    March 3, 2010 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  3. you're all buttmonkeys

    keep going Chuckles. make it permanent and then step ALLL the way down

    March 3, 2010 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  4. Sue

    He needs to be gone for good along with 500 others!

    March 3, 2010 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  5. Enough

    Make it permanent.......out with this tax evading crook....forever.

    March 3, 2010 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  6. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    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.

    March 3, 2010 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  7. Obama the Arrogant Liar

    He should write a book titled 'the ways and means to get really rich while serving as a congressman'

    March 3, 2010 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  8. Fair is Fair

    "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.

    March 3, 2010 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  9. togo

    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!

    March 3, 2010 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  10. Steve (the real one)

    Permanent and NOT temporary!

    March 3, 2010 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  11. bob

    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

    March 3, 2010 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  12. Slider

    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.

    March 3, 2010 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  13. Beck

    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.

    March 3, 2010 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  14. Texas Jack

    Its about time. obama please follow suit. We must rid the White House of all trash.

    March 3, 2010 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  15. Angie

    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!

    March 3, 2010 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  16. An 8 year old ELEPHANT dung heap, does not transform into compost in just 1 year!

    Rangel should give up the chairmanship at least until the ethics investigation has been concluded.

    March 3, 2010 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  17. T'SAH from Virginia


    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?????

    March 3, 2010 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  18. Paul from Phoenix

    He should keep stepping right over to jail.

    March 3, 2010 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
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