Charles Rangel Steps Down
Wednesday, March 03, 2010
New York, NY –
Congressman Charles Rangel is stepping down temporarily as chair of the House Ways and Means Committee. The Manhattan Democrat made a statement to reporters in Washington this morning.
"I have this morning sent a letter to Speaker Pelosi asking her to grant me a leave of absence until such time that the Ethics Committee completes its work," Rangel said.
Rangel has been the focus of an ongoing investigation by the House Ethics Committee. Last week, it released a report that found he violated House rules when he accepted corporate trips to the Caribbean.
Kathy Wylde, President and CEO of Partnership for New York City, says Rangel used the chairmanship to look after the needs of his poorest Harlem constituents, as well as the city's biggest banks.
"He has not always taken the side of Wall Street by a long shot. But on the other hand he's been somebody who could strike the balance," Wylde says.
Rangel says he's taking the step to prevent his Democratic colleagues from having to defend him in their midterm election campaigns.