Sat, Dec 04, 2010 - Page 7 News List

House of Representatives takes symbolic tax-cut vote

AFP, WASHINGTON

The US House of Representatives voted on Thursday to censure veteran Democratic Representative Charles Rangel, once the chamber’s leader on taxes and trade, for financial improprieties.

Rangel’s colleagues voted 333-79 for the rare formal rebuke shortly after rejecting a lesser punishment, a mere reprimand, by a 146-267 margin.

The House Ethics Committee had convicted the 80-year-old Rangel of 11 violations, including improper solicitation of political donations and failure to accurately report his personal income.

The vote cast a shadow over the lawmaker’s four decades in the US Congress, during which he rose to one of its most powerful posts: chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee that writes tax and trade law.

However, voters in the New York City borough of Harlem easily handed him a fresh term in the Nov. 2 elections.

“I have made serious mistakes,” Rangel said in a brief speech in the well of the House, pleading for the lesser punishment and admitting “I brought it on myself.”

Before Rangel, the last US lawmakers to be censured were Democratic Representative Gerry Studds and Republican Representative Daniel Crane, both for sexual misconduct.

The last US lawmaker to be reprimanded by the full House was Republican Representative Joe Wilson.

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