The head of the House Democratic Caucus said Wednesday that many in his party view Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) with higher esteem for stepping down from his chairmanship.

Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.) said that Rangel chose to take a leave of absence as chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee because of the "magnitude" of the situation.


"He said anything that got in the way of that currently given the magnitude of what's on the table in front of us, required [that he step aside]," Larson said after the Democrats' first caucus meeting since Rangel made his decision.

"And I think he stands taller in the minds of many in our caucus for doing that," he added.

Many Republicans and some Democrats called for Rangel to relinquish his chairmanship after the House ethics committee found admonished him last week. Rangel stepped down pending the results of a broader investigation.

Pelosi has been tight-lipped about Rangel's permanent standing as the chairman, but the fourth-ranking House Democrat shed light on the feelings for Rangel amongst many in the caucus.

Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.) was tapped Wednesday by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to take Rangel's place. 

Republican lawmakers have said that Rangel's decision to step down "temporarily" is not good enough for them, and are proceeding with a privileged resolution to force his permanent ouster.