Until House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s gavel falls, Congressman Charles Rangel’s post as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee is secure. Pelosi has informed the press that she will make no decision until the ethics committee completes its investigation of Rangel, which has been going for more than a year.
Pelosi is getting heat from rankled Republicans who insist on Rangel being removed, given his tax problems. Rumors are afloat that Rangel may be considering stepping down in order to avoid his situation being a distraction to the ongoing health care reform debate. But such is not the case, according to a Rangel spokesperson.
It’s also an attempt to circumvent House rules, which provide for a comprehensive, bipartisan ethics committee process for reviewing matters such as these. The Congressman himself initiated the request for the Committee to review the issues and the Members should let the process work as established by the rules of the House.”
Rangel, 79, who is completing his 20th term as a representative from Harlem, refused to deal with a surge from the press demanding he speak to the Republican siege.
At a recent press conference on the Upper West Side called by Rangel to discuss the economic stimulus package on local transit projects, the congressman deflected the questions hurled at him by the press.
“The press conference was called for a specific purpose and normally, the people that called for it like for those questions to be geared toward why the press conference was called,” Rangel said. “I assume that there would be other questions concerning a different subject, and relying on your good faith, your integrity and your professionalism, I assume that you would respect that.”