NPR logo N.Y. Dems & House GOP Both Have Rangel-Related Dilemmas


N.Y. Dems & House GOP Both Have Rangel-Related Dilemmas

Rangel complicates both parties' thinking. Harry Hamburg/AP hide caption

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Harry Hamburg/AP

Rangel complicates both parties' thinking.

Harry Hamburg/AP

There's an interesting set of headlines at right now:

— "N.Y. Dems Agitate For Rangel Action."
— "The GOP's Rangel Dilemma."

Both stories center on the "tangle of ethical issues" that House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., finds himself in.

Some Democrats in the Empire State, Politico says, are worried about the effect that Rangel's problems could have on their tough re-election contests in 2010. The concern is particularly acute for some upstate House members, who are always in danger of losing their jobs because they come from generally conservative districts. They want Rangel's problems sorted out as quickly as possible — and would like to see him step down as Ways and Means chairman while the House ethics committee continues its probe of his financial dealings.

But Republicans have a problem, Politico reports:

Should they push hard now to knock Rangel off his powerful perch at Ways and Means or try to keep the story alive as long as possible and milk as much of a "political advantage" from it as they can? Further complicating their thinking:

(House GOP leader John) Boehner and other top Republicans don't want to make Rangel into a sympathetic figure and are sensitive to any accusation from African-Americans that there is a GOP campaign to remove him from power. Boehner, who had ethics problems himself in the mid-1990s, also wants to avoid a full-blown ethics war with Democrats. Boehner fears retaliation against some of his members, such as GOP Reps. Don Young of Alaska and Jerry Lewis of California, who face their own ethics issues.

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