See update below
In an interesting turn of events this week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was forced by her caucus to pry Rep. Charlie Rangel’s (D-NY) Ways and Means gavel out of his hands and throw Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) under the bus. Then, she cut Rep. Eric Massa (D-NY) loose late Friday afternoon, pressuring Massa to set down just days after allegations surfaced against the one-term Congressman. Rep. Massa will resign his House seat effective Monday, March 8 at 5pm.
Through all of the months of drama of Rangel’s ethics violations, tax evasion, and abuses, Pelosi has stood by Rangel–up to the very end–even being quoted as saying:
After huddling with Rangel for 45 minutes, Pelosi initially said, “No comment” when asked if Rangel remains panel chairman.
She later added, “I guess he is still chair of Ways and Means…”
Although Rep. Rangel has been forced to “temporarily” step down as chair, there have been just about no calls for him to resign his seat. So, what triggered Peolsi’s intolerance to Massa? It appears that she was capitalizing on an event to banish Massa from the House. Could it be that Massa had the audacity to actually represent his constituents and vote Nay on the House healthcare takeover bill?
Keep in mind, Rangel has actually been found to have violated House rules by the House Ethics Committee. The charges surrounding Rangel have the whiff of serious public corruption. And there are even more serious allegations against Rangel still under investigation. It’s interesting to note Pelosi’s silence on these and other ethics charges against other members, to name a few. We don’t even fully know what Massa is alleged to have done and there’s been no announcement of any formal investigation into Massa, much less any findings of fact. According to her own statements, Pelosi only heard about the allegations this week, so why the urgency to force Massa out of office immediately? After all, Maxine Waters and Laura Richardson and so many others for much more serious ethics violations.
Of course, the other members under ethics clouds are reliable “yes” votes on whatever iteration of ObamaCare Pelosi brings to the floor. Massa was a reliable “no”. But, pushing Massa, obviously, reduces the number of Representatives in the House. Massa’s constituents may no longer have a voice or a say on one of the more sweeping legislative proposals in decades, but, with Massa out, the magic number of votes needed to ram healthcare through and get a bill to Obama’s desk is 216.
We knew Pelosi would ‘pull out all the stops’ to pass health care. It seems she’ll pull out her own members too.
Crossposted from Big Government