By Pamela Gentry, Senior Political Analyst
March 2, 2010 – One of the most powerful Black lawmakers in Washington as chair of the Ways and Means Committee may be forced from his leadership post by his colleagues in Congress.
Rep, Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) who was admonished by the House Ethics Committee last week following an 18 month investigation told reporters after a closed door meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), he was still chairman. But when asked whether he’d be in the top spot tomorrow he said, “I can’t make all those promises at my age.”
But what makes things worse; one of his colleague and fellow members of the Congressional Black Caucus is calling for him to step down. Rep. Artur Davis, ( D-Ala.) serves on Ways and Means and Tuesday became the first Black lawmaker to call for Rangel to step aside.
In a written statement Davis said, “Representative Rangel has had a long and distinguished career and I respect his leadership, but I believe Congress needs to do more to restore the public trust,” Davis said in a written statement. “An ethics committee admonishment is a serious event and Representative Rangel should do the right thing and step aside as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.”
Davis who is running for governor in Alabama and will not be running for Congress in November. His statement drew headlines and some harsh language from one caucus member. Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) objected to Davis’ call for Rangel’s resignation as chair.
“I think Mr. Davis ought to step aside,” Hastings said. “He ain’t here much. And if he’s speaking for anyone black, he ain’t speaking for me.” Davis missed three roll call votes on Tuesday.
While Pelosi declined to comment on Rangel’s future, at least 14 other Dems are reported to be calling for him to do so: Davis is the first African-American member on Congress to make a formal statement.
Maryland Rep. Elijah Cumming said, “I think everyone is entitled to his opinion.” Adding, that “it’s a little early” to relieve Rangel of his chairmanship.
Rep. John Carter (R-Texas) is expected to bring a resolution to the floor calling for Rangel to step aside, according Politic.com. The GOP will need every Republican vote and 39 Democrats to vote against the chairman.
Rangel fate could come down to the political will of his party; is this climate, that’s not a great spot to be in.
Do you think Rangel should resign?