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Congress: Democrats wrangle with Rangel story

The New York Daily News' lead on Rangel: "House probers handed aging warrior Rep. Charlie Rangel the battle of his political life on Thursday, slapping the Harlem Democrat with damning ethics charges."

The New York Post's cover: "Charlie Charged."

The New York Times on the charges: “Democrats with knowledge of the investigation said the committee found evidence to support accusations that Mr. Rangel, 80, wrongly accepted four rent-stabilized apartments in Manhattan and misused his office to preserve a tax loophole worth half a billion dollars for an oil executive who pledged a donation for an educational center being built in Mr. Rangel’s honor. The committee also found evidence to support a charge that Mr. Rangel failed to report or pay taxes on rental income from his beachfront Dominican villa.”

The Times adds that Rangel, if he decides to fight the charges, “must face a public trial before the House ethics committee, the first member of Congress to be forced to do so since 2002, when Representative James A. Traficant Jr. was expelled from Congress after a corruption conviction.”

"The ethics trial sought by the New York congressman and former Ways and Means Committee chairman will coincide with campaign season. Democrats will have to defend their party's conduct," AP writes, adding, "Republicans are already going negative, reminding voters that Speaker Nancy Pelosi promised to "drain the swamp" of ethical misdeeds in Congress."

The Washington Post on the death of the climate bill: “Conceding that they can't find enough votes for the legislation, Senate Democrats on Thursday abandoned efforts to put together a comprehensive energy bill that would seek to curb greenhouse gas emissions, delivering a potentially fatal blow to a proposal the party has long touted and President Obama campaigned on. Instead, Democrats will push for a more limited measure that would seek to increase liability costs that oil companies would pay following spills such as the one in the Gulf of Mexico. It also would create additional incentives for the development of natural gas vehicles and would provide rebates for products that reduce home energy use. Senate Democrats said they expected to find GOP support for the bill and pass it in the next two weeks.”

The efficiency of Congress on display again... "The Senate rejected the House’s broad version of a supplemental war spending bill late Thursday night, after Democrats were unable to complete work on a small-business jobs bill despite hours of tense negotiations with Republicans," Roll Call says. "The Senate was stalled almost all day Thursday as Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) negotiated a settlement on the small-business measure. Those talks broke down late Thursday evening, forcing Reid to turn to the supplemental spending bill."

"After a lengthy debate Thursday, the Senate voted 60-37 to end debate on an amendment that would create a $30 billion fund for community banks to lend to small businesses," The Hill writes.

Reid "has committed the Senate to a showdown on campaign finance legislation aimed at undoing a controversial Supreme Court ruling, despite the fact that he does not have the votes to break a GOP filibuster. Following the Senate’s rejection of a House version of the supplemental war spending bill late Thursday night and Reid’s inability to move a small-business bill, the Democratic leader abruptly decided to turn to the campaign finance bill. Reid filed a cloture on the bill Thursday night, and the vote will be held Tuesday."