Rangel Says He's Not Stepping Down

Published March 2, 2010

WASHINGTON (AP) — Rep. Charles Rangel denied Tuesday that he's stepping down as chairman of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee in the wake of an ethics report that admonished him for taking two corporate-paid trips.

A Democratic source had said Rangel was likely to "temporarily" relinquish his chair amid rising concern among some Democrats that Rangel's troubles posed a political risk. The source spoke anonymously to discuss a sensitive internal party matter.

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Asked if he was still chairman Tuesday evening, Rangel said: "You bet your life." Pressed if he was planning to step down temporarily, he said, "No."

Rangel issued his denials after meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to discuss his fate. Pelosi, emerging from her office after Rangel, said she had no comment.

Rangel was scheduled to chair a Ways and Means Committee meeting Wednesday morning.

The House ethics committee last week said Rangel violated congressional gift rules by taking trips to the Caribbean in 2007 and 2008 that had corporate sponsors. The New York Democrat told ethics investigators that he did not know the trips were paid by corporations.

Rangel still faces multiple ethics complaints. Several of his House supporters said any action against him should await the conclusion of the ethics committee investigation.

Written by <P>JIM KUHNHENN, Associated Press </P>

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