Discuss as:

Levin to Chair Ways and Means

From NBC's Shawna Thomas and Domenico Montanaro
Pete Stark's tenure as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee may go down as the shortest chairmanship in history.

Democrats have chosen Michigan Congressman Sander Levin, 78, as Ways and Means chairman, replacing embattled Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY), who relinquished his chairmanship yesterday amid an ongoing ethics investigation, according to Rep. Chris Van Hollen. The decision does not have to go to the full house for a vote.

Here's some of AP's reporting: "House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the appointment at a closed door caucus meeting, the spokesman said. Democratic Rep. Pete Stark of California had been in line for the post based on seniority. But a Democratic lawmaker said he chose instead to remain chairman of the panel's health subcommittee."

Many Democrats had been concerned about some of Stark's prior comments, many of which have been highlighted by Republicans.

*** UPDATE *** Van Hollen, chairman of the DCCC,  said that Stark wanted to stay on as the Chairman of the House Subcommittee. "It's obviously an issue he's been very involved in ," Van Hollen said, "and in his view it didn't make sense to switch horses midstream on the health care subcommittee. It's a critical juncture and the next [in line] according to the rules would be Sandy Levin."

When asked if the full House needed to vote on Levin being the next chairman, Van Hollen said, "Under the rules of the temporary chairmanship, this is now complete."