In a historic action against one of its own, the House today voted 333 to 79 to censure Rep. Charles Rangel , D-N.Y., on 11 charges of violating rules of the chamber -- a vote that was decisive but clearly wrenching for many of his colleagues.
Following the vote, Rangel walked down to the well of the House to receive his public rebuke, alone and looking somber, as Speaker Nancy Pelosi , D-Calif., read a list of the violations.
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When she concluded, Rangel responded, "I just want all of you to know that I know in all my heart that I will not be judged by this Congress, but by my life, my actions, and my contributions to society."
Before the vote, the 80-year-old Harlem lawmaker said in a six-minute address that he brought these events "upon myself."
Rangel also apologized to his colleagues "for putting you in this awkward position," recalled it was 60 years ago this week that he had been wounded in the service of his country in Korea, and said he "wants to continue to serve this Congress and this country."
But Rangel also continued to argue that a fairer punishment based on House precedent would have been a reprimand. And two colleagues sitting on his right and left -- Reps. Bobby Scott , D-Va., and Joseph Crowley , D-N.Y., both took up that same argument on his behalf.