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Carter Again Seeks To Remove Rangel From Ways & Means

Rep. John Carter (R-Tex.) is again working to remove Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) from his post as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee until the House ethics committee completes its investigation into his potential impropriety.

Carter read aloud his privileged resolution on the House floor at 12:55 p.m. today, and by rule it will be voted on. However, his previous resolution, introduced in February, was tabled by Democrats and today's vote appears to fare a similar outcome.

"We cannot tolerate a double standard in this country, one for the common man and another for the rich and powerful," Carter said in a press release this morning. "To allow Mr. Rangel to continue to serve as Chairman of the very committee with IRS oversight, without paying a nickel in penalties, and with no end in sight to his ethics investigation, sends a clear message to the American public that this government refuses to abide by the same laws they impose on the working people of this country."

An investigation into Rangel has continued for more than a year now, as the ethics committee first announced on Sept. 24, 2008, the formation of an investigative subcommittee to look into his dealings. The committee announced a separate inquiry in June for trips he has taken to the Caribbean.

The full text of the resolution can be read here.

UPDATE (1:51 p.m.): The House voted to refer the resolution to the ethics committee, ending the chance for any debate. The resolution is now dead as the committee has no mandate to do anything with it.

Two Democrats voted with the Republicans to not refer the motion to committee: Reps. Gene Taylor and Travis Childers, both of Mississippi. Childers represents a swing district, but Taylor is regularly re-elected with well more than 60% of the vote.

"These votes show that support for the Democratic Leaders' decision to sweep this matter under the rug is starting to crack," said Michael Steel, spokesman for Minority Leader John Boehner.

Here is a released statement from Boehner:

"Today's vote is just the latest example of Speaker Pelosi breaking her promise to have the most 'open and ethical' Congress in history. Instead of holding Chairman Rangel accountable for his actions, House Democrats are once again circling the wagons and demonstrating their loyalty to a leader who faces serious questions about his official conduct.

"In public service, there is a time to put the interests of the American people before your own, and for Chairman Rangel, this should be one of those times. With an economic recession causing millions of Americans to lose their jobs, it is not in our nation's best interest to have the chairman of the House's powerful tax-writing committee under investigation for running afoul of tax laws. The American people deserve better."