Tales from the Trail

House Democrats fret over Rangel case

rangelTwo top Democrats met with Rep. Charles Rangel on Monday, an aide said, while their colleagues fretted about whether his ethics woes will hurt them in the November election.

Rangel had separate meetings with Chris Van Hollen, chairman of the House Democratic Campaign Committee, and Jim Clyburn, the House Democratic whip, the Democratic Party aide said.

The aide declined to elaborate on the talks, other than to confirm that Van Hollen shared with Rangel some of his “observations.” Many Democrats fear that if Rangel’s case goes to trial before a congressional panel in September it could become a “political circus” and undermine Democrats’ chances to retain control of the House.

The House Ethics Committee announced charges last week against Rangel which are set to be made public on Thursday in advance of an anticipated September trial.

The ethics panel has been examining for nearly two years a number of allegations against Rangel, including that he failed to pay taxes on a villa and improperly used his office to solicit contributions to a college center named in his honor.

Pelosi cracks whip for healthcare votes

USA-HEALTHCARE/PELOSI“I never stop whipping,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Tuesday.

She was, of course, talking about the virtually non-stop quest for healthcare votes.  (Sorry were you thinking something else?)

“There’s no beginning, there’s no middle and there’s no end. My life is a constant whip operation,” she said to laughter at yet another event to promote healthcare reform on Capitol Hill.

People not familiar with the process for getting votes on Capitol Hill often think of arm-twisting, when in formality it is a whip operation with someone who actually gets the title “Whip.”