Chairman of the Appropriations Committee


Reinstate the Draft: It's a Matter of Fairness
WASHINGTON - The question of whether we need a universal military draft will be important as long as this country is placing thousands of young men and women in harm's way in Iraq.  As long as Americans are being shipped off to war, then everyone should be vulnerable, not just those who, because of economic circumstances, are attracted by lucrative enlistment bonuses and educational incentives.   Full Story

Charles B. Rangel

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Charles Rangel
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from
New York's 15th district
Term of office:
1971 - Present
Political party: Democrat
Preceded by: Adam Clayton Powell
Succeeded by: Incumbent
Religion: Roman Catholic
Born: June 11, 1930
New York City, New York
Spouse: Alma Rangel

Charles Bernard Rangel, (born June 11, 1930 in (Harlem) New York, NY) is an American politician. He has been a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives since 1971, representing the Fifteenth Congressional District of New York (map) His district was numbered the Eighteenth District from 1971–1973; the Nineteenth District from 1973–1983; and the Sixteenth District from 1983–1993. Rangel's district encompasses Upper Manhattan and includes such neighborhoods as Harlem, Spanish Harlem, Washington Heights, Inwood, and part of the Upper West Side. He was born in New York City and served in the United States Army from 1948 to 1952, earning a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star for his service in the Korean War.



 Early life


He graduated from DeWitt Clinton High School in New York City. He received a BS from the New York University School of Commerce and obtained a degree in Law from St. John's University in 1960.

Rangel is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha, the first intercollegiate Greek-letter fraternity established for African Americans. He is a member of the fraternity's World Policy Council, a think tank whose purpose is to expand Alpha Phi Alpha's involvement in politics, and social and current policy to encompass international concerns.[1

 Political career

Rangel served in the New York State Assembly from 1966 to 1970, when he was elected to the House, defeating long-time Congressman Adam Clayton Powell in the Democratic primary. His first committee assignment was on the House Judiciary Committee where he participated in the impeachment hearings against President Richard Nixon. He is now the Ranking Member (soon to be chairman) of the Committee on Ways and Means and Chairman of the Board of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. He co-founded the Congressional Black Caucus, where he has also served as chairman, and of which he continues to be a member. He is currently the fourth-longest serving Democratic House member, behind John Dingell, John Conyers and Dave Obey.


Rangel is also noteworthy for his willingness to risk arrest for participating in political protests. Most recently, on July 13, 2004, he was the first of three sitting US House members to be arrested on trespassing charges, for protesting alleged human rights abuses in Sudan in front of the Sudanese Embassy in Washington. Later in the week of July 13, 2004, Congressman Bobby Rush of Illinois and Congressman Joe Hoeffel of Pennsylvania would also be arrested at the Sudanese Embassy. Nearly two decades previously, Rangel had been arrested for participating in an anti-apartheid rally in front of the South African Embassy in Washington.[1] On March 15, 1999, Congressman Rangel was arrested along with two other prominent African-American leaders (civil rights activist Al Sharpton and former Mayor David Dinkins), for protesting the fatal shooting of Amadou Diallo, an African-American, by four white New York City police officers. [2]


Rangel caused controversy on February 13, 2005, by calling Bill Clinton a redneck in response to Hillary Clinton's refusal to support his views on the Amadou Diallo case.[3]

On September 22, 2005, Rangel compared Republican President George W. Bush to Bull Connor, the former Public Safety Commissioner of Birmingham, Alabama, stating: "George Bush is our Bull Connor." In response, Vice President Dick Cheney, during an interview on the Rush Limbaugh radio program on October 3, 2005, stated: "I'm frankly surprised at his comments. It almost struck me — they were so out of line, it almost struck me that there was some — Charlie was having some problem. Charlie is losing it, I guess." Rangel responded by saying, "The fact that he would make a crack at my age, he ought to be ashamed of himself...He should look so good at 75." [4]

Rangel again expressed his displeasure with Vice-President Cheney on October 30, 2006, by opining that Cheney is "a real son of a bitch" who "enjoys a confrontation." He also suggested that Cheney requires professional treatment for mental defects.[5]

2006 Election

In August 2006, Rangel stated he would resign his seat if the Democrats did not take the House that November, which they did.[6]

In response to Hugo Chavez addressing the UN general assembly on September 20, 2006 and implying that Bush was the devil, Rangel said, "I want President Chavez to please understand that even though many people in the United States are critical of our president that we resent the fact that he would come to the United States and criticize President Bush... you don't come into my country, you don't come into my congressional district and you don't condemn my president."[7]

In November 2006, he was elected to be the next Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee in 2007.

The draft

Rangel has repeatedly called for the government to bring back the draft. According to Rangel, "There's no question in my mind that this president and this administration would never have invaded Iraq, especially on the flimsy evidence that was presented to the Congress, if indeed we had a draft and members of Congress and the administration thought that their kids from their communities would be placed in harm's way,"

He has also justified reinstating the draft as a way to make the military more representative of the American public at large. "A disproportionate number of the poor and members of minority groups make up the enlisted ranks of the military, while most priv­ileged Americans are underrepresented or absent."[8] The Heritage Foundation has provided a rebuttal. [9]

In 2003, Rangel introduced legislation that would draft both men and women should conscription be reintroduced in the future. It was defeated 402-2 the following year in the House of Representatives, with Rangel voting against his own bill. [10]

In November 2006, he outlined his proposed bill to reinstate the draft. If the bill, which is due to be brought before Congress in early 2007, is passed, men and women of the United States between the ages of 18-42 would have the possibility of being drafted. Polls show 7 out of 10 Americans oppose a reinstatement of the draft.[11] In an interview on Face the Nation, Rangel emphasized that people could fulfill their draft obligations through non-military services, such as port and airline security.[2]

Legislation sponsored by Rangel

 See also


  1. ^ Devlin Barrett. "Rep. Rangel arrested in protest outside Sudanese embassy", Associated Press, July 13, 2004. Retrieved on 2006-11-20.
  2. ^ Ikimulisa Sockwell. "Dinkins, Rangel busted at Diallo protest", New York Post, March 16, 1999, p. 4.
  3. ^ Rangel Blasts Clinton as 'a Redneck' (February 15, 2005). Retrieved on 2006-11-20.
  4. ^ Sara Kugler. "Rangel: Cheney should be 'ashamed' for age remark", Associated Press, October 5, 2005. Retrieved on 2006-11-20.
  5. ^ Kerry Reloads in Dogfight Over Snipe at Troops in Iraq (October 31, 2006). Retrieved on 2006-11-20.
  6. ^ Devlin Barrett. "Rangel: I'll quit Congress if Democrats lose", Associated Press, August 2, 2006. Retrieved on 2006-11-20.
  7. ^ Ian James. "Bush critics condemn Chavez reference to Bush as 'The devil'", Associated Press, September 22, 2006. Retrieved on 2006-11-20.
  8. ^ "Bring Back the Draft", New York Times, December 31, 2002. Retrieved on 2006-11-21.
  9. ^ Who Bears the Burden. Heritage Foundation (November 7, 2005). Retrieved on 2006-11-20.
  10. ^ John Heilprin (November 19, 2006). Rep. Rangel Will Seek to Reinstate Draft. Retrieved on 2006-11-20.
  11. ^ Top Democrat: Bring back the draft. (November 19, 2006). Retrieved on 2006-11-20.

 External links


Preceded by:
Adam Clayton Powell, Jr.
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 18th congressional district

Succeeded by:
Edward I. Koch
Preceded by:
Bella Abzug
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 19th congressional district

Succeeded by:
Mario Biaggi
Preceded by:
Charles E. Schumer
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 16th congressional district

Succeeded by:
Jose Serrano
Preceded by:
S. William Green
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 15th congressional district

Succeeded by:



Rangel: US has to protect American business in trade with China

Associated Press Writer

November 28, 2006, 1:58 PM EST

NEW YORK -- The United States has the right to protect its businesses in its trade relationship with China, and not doing so would lead to Americans losing faith in the free-market system, Rep. Charles Rangel said Tuesday.

Speaking at a breakfast organized by Crain's New York Business, the expected incoming chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee said that it's important to uphold international law when it comes to trade relations with China.

"You just can't ask us to vote for free trade," he said. "We have to enforce international law, and we have to make certain that America has some minimum standards on how we expect foreigners to treat their workers and how we expect them to protect our exports."

Rangel made his remarks the same day it was announced that Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will lead a high-level U.S. delegation to Beijing next month.

Tensions with China over trade issues are growing over America's increasing deficit with that country. Critics say China uses unfair practices like manipulating its currency to make Chinese goods cheaper in the U.S. while making U.S. products more expensive in China.

"If we're going to continue trade with China, notwithstanding the fact that it may be difficult to deal with a country that we owe hundreds of billions if not trillions of dollars to, then we have a right to protect American businesses," Rangel said. "Our failure to take on the People's Republic of China will cause Americans and members of Congress to lose faith in a free-market system as it relates to trade."

In his speech, Rangel touched on a number of issues from taxes to Social Security and the war. He said the Democrats wouldn't try to repeal the Bush administration's tax cuts, and called for both parties to work together on issues like reforming Social Security.

Rangel, a Korean War veteran who has said he will introduce a measure to bring back the draft, said he would be holding hearings on the issue.

"If you are supporting the war, meet me halfway and explain me how you can support the war and convince me that those young men and women over there, they want to fight, that draftees who won World War II and draftees who fought in Vietnam cannot be trained to fight the war," he said. "I think it's hypocrisy and whether it passes or not I guarantee you this: There will be hearings."

On a lighter note, Rangel was asked whether he would support his fellow New York Democrat, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, if she ran for president in 2008. He sidestepped talking about her, but said, "I am a very, very strong advocate of Rudolph Giuliani being the Republican candidate."