Democrats Hold Off GOP Attack On Rangel

Posted on October 9, 2009. Filed under: Charlie Rangel | Tags: , , , , , |

 Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D-N.Y.) sat stone-faced as the House chamber buzzed around him, preparing to vote on a measure that could partly undo his almost four decades of work in Congress.

As Republicans pressed their attempt to remove him from his perch as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Democrats stood by Rangel — who is under investigation for a series of alleged violations that include improperly occupying several rent-controlled New York City apartments and not disclosing a laundry list of income and assets — and deflected the measure to committee.

They have stuck with Rangel repeatedly as the list of charges against him has grown, resisting any temptation to push aside a popular fixture in the party who helped found the Congressional Black Caucus in 1971. They have done so despite vows from Republicans to continue to force them to go on the record in defense of their colleague. But the issue carries complications for both parties.

Instead of full-throated defenses of Rangel, House Democrats measured their comments. Asked whether the controversy would have any negative impact on his party,  Rep. Chris Van Hollen (Md.), head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, sidestepped the question, saying that “the issue is making sure there is a fair process.”

Some Republicans, meanwhile, chafed at the sharp rhetoric aimed at Rangel, a jovial lawmaker who has many friends in both parties and is in a position to dole out favors on both sides of the aisle.

“There are some serious issues,” said Rep.  Peter T. King (R-N.Y.), who voted with the Democrats on Wednesday and said he was not ready to call for Rangel to give up his chairmanship. “But from what I know, there was no malice or malfeasance. He’s a war hero, he’s been here for 40 years, he’s a decent guy.”

Read the Rest at The WashingtonPost

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