House to vote censure on Thursday after Rangel requests delay

The House on Thursday will consider whether to censure Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) for a series of ethics violations, a top Democrat revealed Wednesday.

Democratic leaders were leaning toward a Wednesday vote, but Rangel on Tuesday appealed to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to delay the process by a day. The schedule allows the 20-term lawmaker some additional time to lobby colleagues to soften his punishment, from censure to a reprimand.

Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said he hasn't decided how he'll vote on the issue, but the measure will hit the floor Thursday afternoon, after consideration of a middle-class tax-cut extension.

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“Originally, I thought I didn't have a role in that,” Hoyer told reporters Wednesday, referring to the Rangel episode. “But … the parliamentarian indicates that I do. So I've talked to all the parties, and we've scheduled that matter for consideration [Thursday afternoon].”

Hoyer said he informed both Rangel and Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), head of the ethics panel, about the schedule on Tuesday.

Rangel, the former chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, has been under fire since 2008, when reports surfaced that he had solicited donations on congressional stationary for an educational center bearing his name and failed to pay taxes on a Dominican villa, among other indiscretions.

Last month, a House adjudicatory panel found him guilty of 11 counts of ethics violations, leading members of the House ethics panel to recommend the censure punishment.

Hoyer also commented on two staff attorneys on the ethics panel who were put on administrative leave this week for alleged mistakes related to the ethics investigation of another Black Caucus member, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.).

Hoyer said Wednesday that he retains full confidence in the ethics committee, despite the missteps of a few attorneys.

"It raises concerns that ought to be looked at," Hoyer said. "But the committee is not the staff." 

This story was updated at 1:35 p.m.