That was fast: After Charles Rangel took his leave of absence from the chairmanship of the House Ways and Means Committee, Nancy Pelosi put in California’s Pete Stark (pictured) yesterday. Now Stark is out. No scandal, exactly, but — questions remain!
The semi-official reason is that the Dems don’t want Stark to leave the chairmanship of a health subcommittee. But Politico suggests there was a “rebellion” on the committee over his appointment because of his tendency toward hot language — for example, he once said soldiers were being sent to Iraq “to get their heads blown off for the president’s amusement.” (George W. Bush was president at the time.) Looks like Anthony Weiner will never run Ways and Means!
Also, Stark had recently been investigated by a House ethics panel himself — just like Rangel. He was cleared, but had a bad attitude there, also. Politico reveals his Congressional questioners found Stark “belligerent.” (The House Office of Congressional Ethics later said the panel had subjected Stark to “unfounded criminal allegations.”)
The new guy is Sander Levin of Michigan, which is a big union state, and therefore, says Chris Good at The Atlantic, Levin’s “labor ties” may mean that his “time as chairman could mean a progressive vision of taxes from the House’s top tax man.” So, questions remainingly remain. When will Levin get the ax?