Divided House votes to censure Rangel

N.Y. Democrat only 23rd member rebuked in history

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“I brought it on myself, but I still believe this body has to be governed by fairness,” Mr. Rangel said in a six-minute speech, before turning his defense over to fellow lawmakers.

The debate was one of those rare occasions when there were more lawmakers on the House floor than there were spectators in the public galleries, and his colleagues listened closely.

Lawmakers from across the board spoke in Mr. Rangel’s defense, including a New York Republican and fellow Democrats who were members of the Black and Hispanic caucuses.

“He knows he messed up. He knows he’ll be punished. We just ask he be punished like anyone else,” said Rep. Robert C. Scott, Virginia Democrat.

But Mrs. Pelosi’s vow four years ago to clean up the image of Congress hung over the entire proceedings, with Republicans and Democrats saying they felt an obligation to clean up the image of the chamber.

Ethics committee members said Mr. Rangel was uncooperative for much of the investigation, and downright misleading to the public at other times.

Mrs. Pelosi did not vote on either the reprimand or censure votes. The House speaker often does not vote on roll call votes.

Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, Maryland Democrat, voted for both reprimand and censure, while Whip James E. Clyburn, South Carolina Democrat, voted only for reprimand and against censure.

Rep. John A. Boehner of Ohio, the GOP’s leader and speaker-designate after Republicans take control in January, and Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia, the incoming majority leader, both voted against reprimand and in favor of censure.

“This is a sad day for the House of Representatives, and a reminder of the work we have ahead of us to repair the shattered bonds of trust between the people and their government,” Mr. Boehner said in a statement afterward.

The censure requires that Mr. Rangel submit proof to the ethics panel that he has paid his tax liabilities.

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