“I think he’s troubled by this,” said fellow New Yorker Rep. Edolphus Towns. “But he’s a tough guy. He comes from Harlem.”
Rep. Gregory Meeks, also of New York, echoed that sentiment. “This is just a cheap political trick. This won’t silence Rangel, his voice, or his influence,” said Meeks. “If that’s what Republicans are trying to do, it’s not working.”
The CBC also sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to express its support of Rangel and condemn what they called “partisan attempts” to ignore the ethics process.
“Regrettably, the minority has repeatedly attempted to make an end-run around the bipartisan procedures for investigating possible ethics issues,” the letter reads. “These Republican attempts to presume guilt before an investigation has been completed violate the core American principle of the presumption of innocence. These attempts also will discourage members in the future from self-reporting any potential ethics issues and will distract from the important work of the House to fix the economy, put Americans back to work, and improve access to healthcare.”
Further, the group believes that Republican attempts to force Rangel to step down are designed to distract the House from its work on healthcare and other reforms.
“They’re in the minority and will do every- and anything they can to distract and slow us down. But we’re going to do everything we can to keep going forward, and within the next 30 days or so, we’ll pass a healthcare bill,” said Rep. Chaka Fattah (Pa.). “That’s much more important than any allegations they may make.”