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.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. legion says:

    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.

    While true, it’s worth noting that the office in question is just off the House floor – not the Senate, which is the Veep’s actual area of responsibility…

  2. madmatt says:

    He has a house and office of his own…the Capitol office was just a jackass power play on Cheney’s part. The VP historically is not playing such a central role in destroying the constitution so as to have no need of the Capitol office.

  3. Anderson says:

    What Legion said. Seems odd.

  4. Christopher says:

    legion: good point! (although I can’t believe that I am saying that to you).

    Plus,
    First of all, who the heck cares! Like Cheney actually uses the office!

    But, second: what a show of disrespect for the VP. Demos need to remember, what goes around comes around.

  5. aaacck. I’m agreeing with Legion. Cheney should have an office in the capital, but it should be in the senate building.

  6. James Joyner says:

    Legion/John: I’d note that the House and Senate operate in the same building; there’s only one Capitol. There are numerous House and Senate office buildings but the leadership has offices in the Capitol itself.

  7. Anderson says:

    the office in question is just off the House floor

    So if he has an office, why that one?

    But why Cheney would need an office in the Capitol at all, just b/c he’s the President of the Senate, is a bit beyond me. Like he can’t carry on those onerous duties from his other office? Or from one of his undisclosed locations?

  8. blake says:

    christopher, are you kidding me? perhaps you don’t remember 1994. this is just payback. Why shouldn’t dems relish the ousting of “president cheney” from this office? It’s about time the legislative branch took back some of its authority.

  9. Bithead says:

    Doesn’t he also have an office at the WH?

  10. Wayne says:

    Good to see the Democrats working with such bi-partisan attitude like they promise. They haven’t even took office yet and yet they have shown they have no intention to work in a bi-partisan way. No surprise. I just wish everyone would drop the façade and say it is a purely partisan government.

  11. Chris says:

    The office area in question is on the third or fourth floor of the Capitol building. There are Senate and House leadership offices adjacent to each other in that area. Cheney was rarely in that office, but he had liaison staff there monitoring floor acvtity and generally representing his office. There is nothing unusual about this. There is also nothing unusual about Rangel taking it back. Indeed, millions are spent in shuffling offices around. I just wonder if it was one of the sweet offices that has a working fireplace.

  12. Tano says:

    I stand open to correction, but I believe that the VP DOES have an office on the Senate side (an office for the prez. of the senate), and this is an additional office that the GOP gave him on the House side.

  13. I think that Tano is correct, but I am not 100% certain. Still, I seem to recall someone noting that Cheney had office space on both the House and Senate side of the Capitol and that that was unusual.

  14. NoZe says:

    I seem to recall hearing that Cheney had a Senate office as well…that, as of 2001, he was the first vp to have both Senate and House offices.

  15. just me says:

    I don’t see anything wrong with Rangel taking the office.

    I do think it isn’t very dignified to crow about the office space change.

    I don’t know anything about where or whether the VP has permanent office space designated in the capital, if he doesn’t, it would make sense to designate it.

  16. Christopher says:

    blake,

    News flash buddy: Cheney is not the prez, he is the VP. Wow, you would have to be very unintelligent not to know that!

    Plus you have to understand that for the most part, conservatives are the good guys, liberals are the bad guys. Got it? Left baaaad. Right gooood. There will be a test.

  17. anjin-san says:

    Christopher is exactly correct, what goes around comes around. And it just came back around on Cheney, who has been a study in arrogance and abuse of power since day one.

    I do wish Rangle had let his actions speak for themselves, I have no desire to hear him or any other Democrat crowing…