House Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangels hold on his chairmanship continues to slip, with Rep. Artur Davis (D-Ala.) becoming both the first Ways and Means member and the first black lawmaker to call for the embattled New York Democrat to step aside. Rep. Rangel has had a long and distinguished career and I respect his leadership, but I believe Congress needs to do more to restore the public trust, said Davis, who is running for governor. An ethics committee admonishment is a serious event, and Rep. Rangel should do the right thing and step aside as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.Davis first gained his seat on the panel as a replacement for then-Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.), a fellow Congressional Black Caucus member. Then-Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) muscled Jefferson off the committee in 2006 after he was targeted by FBI raids in a bribery probe.The ethics committee ruled last week that two Caribbean trips involving six Members violated House rules in 2007 and 2008 because the events secretly received corporate funding. The ethics panel admonished Rangel for his participation, asserting that his staff were aware of the conflict.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.