GOP to Force Vote on Rangel

Oct 7, 2009 10:53am

ABC News’ Rick Klein reports: Republicans are ratcheting up pressure on House Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel today, by forcing a vote on the House floor on whether to strip Rangel of his chairmanship pending an investigation of his financial irregularities by the House ethics committee. House leadership aides say they’ll push for a mid-day vote on a resolution targeting Rangel, D-N.Y. The measure has virtually no chance of passing — Democratic leaders say they’ll move to table it, as they’ve done with similar resolutions in the past — but Republicans want to continue to put Democrats on the spot over Rangel in advance of next year’s congressional elections. “We cannot tolerate a double standard in this country, one for the common man and another for the rich and powerful,” Rep. John Carter, R-Texas, the author of the resolution, said in a statement. “To allow Mr. Rangel to continue to serve as Chairman of the very committee with IRS oversight, without paying a nickel in penalties, and with no end in sight to his ethics investigation, sends a clear message to the American public that this government refuses to abide by the same laws they impose on the working people of this country. With this vote, those people can see exactly where their representative stands on the issue of equality under the law.” Rangel has denied intentionally misstating his income to the IRS and on congressional disclosure forms, blaming sloppiness for the series of embarrassing disclosures. But, as ABC’s Z. Byron Wolf points out, the ethics committee inquiry into Rangel’s errors has now lasted well more than a year. UPDATE: As expected, House Democrats deflected the attempt to take the gavel away from Rangel. ABC’s Dean Norland reports that Democrats countered with a resolution to refer the matter to the House Ethics Committee, which has already been investigating Rangel for months. The House voted 246-153 — with two Democrats voting with Republicans — to send the matter formally to the ethics committee, instead of taking immediate action to remove Rangel. 

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