photo courtesy of kptyson (flickr)

Politico is reporting that Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY 15) is “on [the] verge of losing [his] gavel; Chuck Todd is tweeting it is a done deal:

NBC News has learned Charlie Rangel will voluntarily give up his Ways and Means chairmanship, possibly as early as tonight.

[50 mins. later. . ]

More Rangel: He just told the press he’s still chairman RIGHT NOW of Ways and Means. But sources say he’ll agree to leave tmro

The obvious next in line for the chairmanship of the powerful House Ways and Means committee is Sander Levin, the Democratic Rep from Michigan’s 12th district (and older brother of Michigan Senator Carl Levin). Todd, however, is also tweeting both that Sandy Levin might only be a temporary chair and/or that the gavel will instead pass to Pete Stark (D-CA 13).

Rangel has been dogged by long-simmering ethics investigations and charges that he violated house rules. GOP House members have vowed to bring a resolution to the floor calling for the Harlem Democrat’s removal as chairman. When CBC member Artur Davis (D-AL 7) and 13 other Democratic representatives called on Rangel to step aside earlier today, leadership no doubt feared that additional defections in this election year could push the resolution over the top. Rangel and Speaker Pelosi met earlier this evening, where it is believed Rangel agreed to step aside.

Update: More Todd tweeting:

Stark or Levin for Ways & Means? If Rangel “temporarily” steps aside, Stark takes over; if it’s a longer term deal, expect Levin to get it