Because, at the moment, doing nothing creates a lot less trouble for Pelosi than doing anything, current and former House aides tell POLITICO.
Stripping the Harlem Democrat of his chairmanship of the House Ways and Means Committee would force Pelosi to make a series of unpalatable decisions about Rangel’s successor that would create a ruckus in the Democratic caucus.
It would also infuriate the Congressional Black Caucus, which is still sore over Pelosi’s decision to strip committees from former Louisiana Rep. Bill Jefferson – even after Jefferson had been found with a wad of tainted cash in his kitchen.
“Unless they find $90,000 in his freezer, like they did with Jefferson, we’re going to wait [for the outcome of a House ethics probe],” said a Democratic aide familiar with Pelosi’s thinking on the matter.
Rangel has told supporters he’s committed to running for re-election next year and plans to run again in 2012 – when he’s 82 — health permitting.
Pelosi’s inaction isn’t without risks.
Rangel’s troubles, coupled with the equally embarrassing ethics problems of another Pelosi-allied Old Bull, Rep. Jack Murtha (D-Penn.), could damage the Democratic brand in the midterms.
(See full story here at POLITICO)