Interesting development in today’s letter from Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) seeking a “leave of absence” as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee.
• According to a variety of sources, and according to House rules, there is nothing “interim” or “temporary” about Rangel’s departure from the chairmanship.
• According to House rules, the institution interprets all such letters, using a variety of descriptions as “resignations.” In the eyes of the House, you are either the chair or you aren’t (as echoed on-cam this morning by Minority Leader John Boehner). What this means is that if Rangel were to try to come back as chairman, the entire House would have to approve that decision.
Below are the actual terms of art used this morning when the House Reading Clerk read Rangel’s letter to the body…and the response from Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) who was presiding at the time.
THE CLERK: The honorable the Speaker, House of Representatives, madam, i respectfully request a leave of absence from my duties and responsibilities as chairman of the committee of ways and means until such time as the committee on standards completes its findings on the review currently under way. signed, Charles B. Rangel.
THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE: without objection, the resignation is accepted.
Resignation is accepted. There is nothing “temporary” or interim about Rangel’s depature from the chairmanship.