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Why Charlie Rangel stepped down as Ways and Means chairman

New York Representative Charlie Rangel has stepped down as chairman of the House Ways and Means committee following more than a year of calls for his resignation.

Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y., stepped down as House Way and Means Committee Chairman, following an ethics panel's finding against him.

Lauren Victoria Burke/AP/File

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With support fading in Democratic ranks, Rep. Charlie Rangel (D) of New York stepped down Wednesday as chair of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee.

For more than a year, the popular chairman – a close ally of Speaker Nancy Pelosi – has dodged calls from Republicans and ethics watchdog groups for his resignation.

But with last week’s finding by the House ethics panel that Representative Rangel violated House gift rules by accepting corporate funding for trips to the Caribbean, Democrats broke ranks.

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“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 Rep. Artur Davis (D) of Alabama, in a statement. A colleague on the House Ways and Means Committee, Representative Davis was the first member of the Congressional Black Caucus to back calls for Rangel's resignation.

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