WASHINGTON, March 2 New York Democrat Charles
Rangel, admonished last week by an ethics panel, will give up
the powerful chairmanship of the tax-writing Ways and Means
Committee in the House of Representatives, NBC reported on
Three Democratic leadership aides told Reuters they were
unable to confirm or comment on the NBC report. A fourth
indicated that no announcements were planned for Wednesday.
NBC quoted a Democratic House member as saying the party did
not have the votes to save Rangel, who has faced calls from
Republicans and some Democrats to step down as chairman.
Representative Sander Levin of Michigan or Representative
Pete Stark of California may temporarily take over from Rangel,
NBC said, citing congressional leadership sources.
The Washington news outlet Politico said Rangel would keep
his chairman's gavel "for now."
It said Rangel emerged from a closed-door meeting in House
Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office Tuesday evening to declare he is
still committee chairman.
Asked whether he would still be chairman tomorrow, said: "I
can't make all those promises at my age." Rangel is 79.
Pelosi declined to comment when asked whether Rangel was
resigning the chairmanship, Politico reported.
The House ethics committee publicly admonished Rangel last
week for taking corporate-paid trips to the Caribbean in
violation of the chamber's gift rules.
Rangel noted that while the committee found that two of his
aides knew that the trips were paid for by corporations, there
was no indication that he himself was aware of it.
NBC quoted unidentified sources as saying Rangel has been
encouraged to step aside before the House votes, as early as
Wednesday, on a Republican measure to strip him of his
NBC said its reporter asked Rangel if he would still be
chairman on Wednesday, and quoted him as replying, "Yes. You
bet your life on it."
The ethics panel, composed of three Democrats and three
Republicans, is still looking into other matters involving
Rangel, including his use of a rent-controlled apartment and
his fundraising for the Charles Rangel Center for Public
Service in New York.