Rangel Boots Cheney from Hill Office
Not only does Charlie Rangel have a new job, he has a new office: Dick Cheney’s.
Rep. Charles Rangel has evicted Vice President Dick Cheney from his office in the Capitol, and the Harlem heavyweight is moving into the prime digs today, The Post has learned. Gilded letters were freshly painted atop the office door yesterday proclaiming “Ways and Means Committee” – confirming that the office now belongs to Rangel, the House panel’s new chairman. Sources said Cheney’s and his staff’s belongings were removed over the holidays.
The new digs give Rangel some of the choicest and most politically central real estate in all of Washington – as well as a measure of sweet revenge.
Rangel moved at lightning speed to boot the man he once told The Post is a “son of a bitch.” Even before Rangel officially took charge as the new chairman – which will happen at noon today – Capitol workers expunged the last traces of Cheney and brought in Rangel’s plush furniture. The ornate room is just yards off the House floor and the Democratic cloakroom where power brokers meet, and has a spectacular view of the Capitol’s East Front.
Rangel was giddy at the prospect of giving Cheney the boot the day after Democrats delivered Republicans a crushing defeat on Election Day. “Mr. Cheney enjoys an office on the second floor of the House of Representatives that historically has been designated for the Ways and Means Committee chairman,” Rangel said after the election.
Republicans gave the historic room to Cheney after he captured the vice presidency, but got him to sign a letter saying the gift wasn’t permanent. “I’m trying to find some way to be gentle as I restore the dignity of that office,” Rangel chuckled at the time. “You gotta go, you gotta go.” Rangel was so eager to bounce Cheney from the office, he phoned new House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) less than 12 hours after the polls closed to get her approval.
Cheney’s office took the high road yesterday. Spokeswoman Mary McGinn told The Post, “It was always our understanding that that office was on loan.”
If the office was on loan, the majority has a right to take it back. Still, it’s most odd that the vice president does not have a permanently designated space. In his capacity as President of the Senate, he joins the Speaker of the House as the only Constitutional officeholders in the Congress; you think they’d rate prime real estate; certainly, more than the Ways and Means chairman.