Battle Grows Over Rangel’s Future

Rangel’s best defense at this point may be the abiding goodwill of his colleagues, many of whom view the 20-term Member as an institution in the chamber. Carter, the House Republican Conference secretary, began his campaign to force Rangel from his post in February 2009, and his first resolution received no Democratic support. On Carter’s second try last October, just two Democrats, Mississippi Reps. Travis Childers and Gene Taylor, came aboard.

Senior Democratic aides pointed to several other factors breaking in Rangel’s favor, including the muddled nature of the ethics rebuke, which found that while he was responsible for the mistakes of his staff in accepting a pair of corporate-sponsored trips to the Caribbean, there was no evidence he knowingly violated House rules. Aides also point to the uncertainty about who could replace him as chairman. For example, the No. 2 Democrat on the panel, Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.), has a history of controversial statements that many believe preclude his ascension. Third is the Congressional Black Caucus — a powerful bloc of Members that holds significant sway with Pelosi — and whether it will rally behind Rangel.

Roll Call