Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) is stepping down temporarily from his post as chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, which exerts "enormous legislative influence in the House" as it controls legislation involving taxes and revenues.
The House Ethics Committee found Rangel "broke congressional rules by not properly disclosing trips to the Caribbean that were paid for by companies." Republicans are pressing for a vote calling for his ouster and several Democrats had already made clear that they would no longer support Mr. Rangel. The ethics panel is still investigating "more serious accusations" Rangel’s fund-raising and federal taxes, the New York Times reports.
The damaging accusations and events come at the same time House and Senate Democrats hope to fast-track action on health care legislation.