Dems call for Charlie Rangel’s gavel

Glenn Thrush & John Bresnahan

After months of holding ranks, Democrats are finally turning on House Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) in the wake of an ethics committee finding that he violated House rules by accepting a Caribbean junket.

Early Friday, Rep. Paul Hodes (D-N.H.) told POLITICO he wants Rangel to quit his powerful committee post — and that was quickly followed by similar statements from a pair of deep south Democrats, Mississippi Rep. Gene Taylor and Alabama Rep. Bobby Bright.

Hodes, facing an uphill battle in a tough Senate race, released a statement saying: “I honor and respect Charlie Rangel’s lifetime of service as a soldier serving our country in Korea and as a public servant. But Washington must be held to the highest ethical standards. Regrettably, with the finding of ethics violations, Charlie Rangel should step down from his leadership position.”

Moments later, during a vote in the House, Taylor, a 10-term representative from the Gulf Coast, told POLITICO that Rangel “should step down, or at least step aside until all this is resolved.”

Taylor challenged Democratic leadership, which has backed Rangel, to move quickly.

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