Rangel Steps Down From Tax Committee Democrats weren't willing to defend him after latest ethics lapse By Kevin Spak, Newser Staff Posted Mar 3, 2010 8:34 AM CST 25 comments Comments House Way and Means Committee Chairman Charlie Rangel, makes a statement on Capitol Hill Thursday regarding an ethics panel's finding against him. (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke) (Newser) – Charles Rangel is temporarily stepping down from his post atop the House’s powerful Ways and Means Committee, in the wake of yet another ethics scandal, the New York Democrat announced today. Rangel says he’s asked for a “leave of absence” until the House Ethics Committee finishes looking into his various tax and financial dealings. “From the beginning I have offered this to Speaker Pelosi,” he said. Rangel met with Pelosi last night, and emerged insisting that he was still the chairman of the committee. "You bet your life," he said. "I don't lie to the press." But Republicans had been prepared to force a floor vote to remove Rangel, and many Democrats feel too vulnerable to support him after the Ethics Committee ruled that he violated gift rules by taking corporate-funded trips to the Caribbean.