Boehner fires shot at Rangel, threatens Conference

House Minority Leader John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerBiden sister has book deal, set to publish in April Are maskless House members scofflaws? Israel, Democrats and the problem of the Middle East MORE (R-Ohio) on Tuesday ratcheted up the political pressure on a senior Democrat and members of his own Republican Conference.

In a letter delivered to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerBiden sister has book deal, set to publish in April Are maskless House members scofflaws? Israel, Democrats and the problem of the Middle East MORE and other Republicans called for Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) to step aside as Ways and Means Committee chairman as the House ethics committee investigates him.


Boehner also warned Republicans about future ethics votes on the House floor. During a closed-door meeting with the GOP conference, Boehner said any member who votes with Democrats on procedural motions pertaining to his ethics-related measures will face repercussions from leadership.

“Anyone who votes against debating one of my resolutions, that’s fine. You just won’t have a committee assignment,” Boehner said, according to several sources in the room.

Boehner’s threat comes as some Republicans are privately indicating that the Ohio lawmaker’s hold on his top leadership post will be in jeopardy should Democrats significantly expand their majority this fall.

Before the House adjourned for the August recess, members voted to table a resolution aimed at censuring Rangel for abusing his power. Twenty-five Republicans joined all voting Democrats in voting to kill the measure, while 29 Republicans and five Democrats voted present. That vote apparently did not sit well with Boehner.

Of the 17 Republicans on Ways and Means, seven voted with GOP leadership on the motion to table the resolution against Rangel. Six panel Republicans voted with Democrats, including retiring ranking member Jim McCrery (La.), while three voted present and one member — Rep. Kenny Hulshof (Mo.) — did not vote.

Rep. Wally Herger (R-Calif.), who is competing with Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.) for the top post on Ways and Means next year, voted to table the resolution. Camp voted present.

The resolution, introduced July 31, stated that Rangel had violated the House gift rule by occupying four rent-controlled apartments in New York City. Rangel has since given up one of the properties.

It also mentioned a report in The Washington Post alleging that Rangel used congressional letterhead to solicit contributions to a City College of New York educational center bearing his name.

Rangel, who has denied any wrongdoing, has called on the House ethics committee to investigate him.

Republicans say that he should step aside as chairman while the probe is ongoing.

It is unclear when, or if, Boehner will call for another vote on Rangel.

Boehner’s statements were delivered in the wake of new reports that Rangel failed to report $75,000 on a rental property in the Dominican Republic.

Rangel’s legal counsel Lanny Davis said the chairman would not be stepping down from his post and that he would not “dignify this hyper-partisan rush to judgment by Mr. Boehner.”

Davis added, “Mr. Boehner has already been repudiated by 40 percent of his party when he tried to use the House floor for a censure resolution based on nothing but newspaper reports.”

He said Rangel will soon release a letter he sent to Pelosi that details the background of the villa in the Dominican Republic as well as one sent to the ethics committee asking them to look into the allegations surrounding the property during a press conference Wednesday morning.

Rangel will remain at the press conference until every last question from reporters is answered, Davis said.

In their letter to Pelosi, House Republicans stated, “Given Chairman Rangel’s continuing ethical lapses, he cannot effectively carry out his duties as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee. Thus, in order to remove one obstacle to this Democratic Congress actually addressing and solving working families’ concerns, you, as the Speaker of the House, must insist that Rep. Rangel step down from his Ways and Means chairmanship pending an investigation of his ethical lapses.”

Pelosi spokesman Nadeam Elshami said, “The American people would be better served if Republicans would stop playing politics and allow the bipartisan ethics committee to do its job. This letter demonstrates that Republican leaders have no confidence in their members serving on the ethics committee and that they will do anything to divert attention away from the continuing fallout of the Abramoff scandal and the price the Republicans Party is continuing to pay for its culture of corruption.”

Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) deemed calls for Rangel to temporarily give up his Ways and Means chairmanship “premature.”

“There is no reason for him to step down from his chairmanship,” Hoyer told The Hill. “I think we need to find out what the facts are first.”

Susan Crabtree and Bob Cusack contributed to this article.