A challenger says Charlie Rangel can’t vote on Ways and Means anymore, and that’s not quite right

Charlie Rangel. ()
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One of the main arguments for ousting Rep. Charles Rangel is that he is far less powerful than he used to be after having been punished for breaking 11 12 House ethics rules.

"Charlie Rangel is a person who has been there for 40 years, and he has lost his chairmanship," said one of his Democratic challengers, the former Clinton and Obama Clyde Williams, at a candidate forum Wednesday night. "He doesn't even have the ability to vote on his own committee anymore."

That last part wasn't right. 

When I followed up on the statement, a Williams campaign spokesman directed me the House Ways and Means website, which states, "Rep. Charles Rangel, NY will serve as an ex officio member sitting on all of the subcommittees without voting rights in the 112th Congress."

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I sent Wiliams' statement to Rangel's congressional spokeswoman, Hannah Kim, who told me, "The information is inaccurate and misleading," and "Of course he can vote in the full committee."

I checked with the Ways and Means Committee. Michelle Dimarob, a senior adviser there, told me via email that Rangel "has the same voting rights as every other Member at the full committee level."

"As a former Chairman, he was granted ex-officio status on all subcommittees (a right usually reserved to the current Chairman and Ranking Member)" and "he does not have voting rights at the subcommittee level."

So, basically, he is accorded some of the status of the ranking Democratic member of the House Ways and Means committee, even though he doesn't have that title or the real powers that go along with it.

"As far as votes," Dimarob said, Rangel "has consistently been present at committee mark ups and has cast votes on all of those occasions, with the only exception being last week’s mark up of HR 9."

UPDATE: Whether he has the right to vote on things in committee and on the floor and whether he is actually there to do so are separate questions, of course.