- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 4, 2010

The fallout from the ethical troubles of Rep. Charles B. Rangel, New York Democrat, continued Thursday as his successor chairman on the Ways and Means Committee stepped down just a day after becoming acting chairman.

Rep. Pete Stark, California Democrat, resigned in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, which was read on the chamber floor just after the House convened Thursday morning.

His move clears the way for the committee’s No. 3 Democrat, Rep. Sander M. Levin of Michigan, to take over.

Some Democrats said Mr. Stark, among Congress’ more liberal members, was too far to the left to run the panel, which is seen as one of the more business-friendly committees in Congress. Mr. Stark also has a history of making contentious comments.

Mrs. Pelosi told rank-and-file Democrats at a closed-door meeting Thursday that Mr. Levin would replace Mr. Rangel, the Associated Press reported.

Mr. Levin later told reporters: “I think you know my close relationship with Charlie. At this point I’m acting chairman.”

Mr. Rangel resigned the chairmanship Wednesday morning after the ethics committee admonished him for taking trips in contravention to House rules prohibiting corporations from paying for travel.

Mr. Rangel said his resignation is temporary, though there is no automatic way for him to regain the gavel without the rest of Congress agreeing.

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