4:25 pm Apr. 25, 2012
Rep. Charlie Rangel, who missed 103 votes during a recent two-month stretch in which he was immobilized by a back injury, was a no-show when Congress reconvened in Washington yesterday.
A spokeswoman for the 81-year-old Democrat said he was working from his district office this week. The spokesperson said Rangel was busy with constituent work and on organizing a career fair (He was also interviewed by WCBS news yesterday.)
Congress is scheduled to be in session until Friday, according to the House Majority Leader's schedule. ("Last vote no later than 3 p.m.")
Rangel's challengers in the June 26 Democratic primary are making the case, with varying degrees of directness, that is time for the 21-term lawmaker to go. State Senator Espaillat has taken indirect shots at Rangel's age and health, and former presidential aide Clyde Williams has said Rangel has lost clout since being censured by his colleagues in 2010.
Yesterday's vote in Congress was on a land swap involving the National Forest System. Other New York congress members who missed the vote include Gary Ackerman, who is retiring, Steve Israel, who chairs the D.C.C.C., Nita Lowey of Westchester, and Louise Slaughter, who recently broke her leg.
UPDATE: Rangel's spokeswoman, Hannah Kim, said, "The Congressman will be hosting multiple events aimed at bringing Washington to the District, to provide opportunities for his constituents to meet representatives from the federal agencies. We're holding another major career fair."