Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) vowed Wednesday to return to his spot atop a powerful committee after an ethics panel concludes an investigation into his finances.

Rangel, who voluntarily stepped aside as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee earlier this year, said he expected to be able to reclaim his position.


"As soon as the ethics committee completes its work, I will be back sitting in the seat," Rangel said on Fox Business Network of the chairmanship.

Rangel characterized his decision as one to help Democrats pass healthcare reform, trying to shield colleagues from having to deal with Republican pressure on him to step down.

The ethics committee admonished Rangel for having accepted corporate-sponsored trips. The committee is also looking at the veteran lawmaker's tax and real estate records.

“It’s been 18 long months. One thing is clear: There is no charges there by anybody," Rangel said of the charges, adding that he's been working actively with the committee.

Rep. Sandy Levin (D-Mich.) has been acting as chairman of the tax-writing committee in Rangel's absence, having leapfrogged Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.), who had been next in line for the chairmanship.

Republicans, Rangel said, have been far from helpful.

“Many of my Republican colleagues say they wish they could be more helpful but have been forced by the Republican leadership not to be friendly," he said. "I understand that, because not one in the House or Senate voted for healthcare. If they have that strict discipline, [then] partisanship is more important than progress."