That’s the word at Congressional Quarterly but it’s behind a firewall so you’ll have to make do with the tidbits at TPM Muckraker.
Hard to tell from what’s there whether this was voluntary in the literal sense or in the Charlie Rangel sense of the word.
I’ll look around for update. Standby.
Update: Sounds like it’s “voluntary” in the Rangel sense and Pelosi’s staff is trying to help him save face.
House Speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi will meet Tuesday with Florida Rep. Alcee Hastings, and those with knowledge of Pelosi’s thinking told FOX News that Hastings will be told he is not going to be the next chairman of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
Though no formal decisions have been announced and Pelosi aides say the situation remains fluid, they suggest that the meeting at Pelosi’s Capitol Hill office was requested by Hastings so he could bow out of the race before Pelosi denies him the job…
Rep. Jane Harman of California, the current ranking member of the panel, has already been told by Pelosi that she won’t be given the chairman’s gavel.
Curious that Fox ended up with the scoop here.
Update: The meeting’s over and, allegedly, the axe has fallen: “Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., will not be the next chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, a Democratic aide confirmed Tuesday as Hastings left a private meeting with Speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.”
Update: Fox News just broke in to say that Hastings has confirmed he won’t lead the committee.
Update: The Congressional Black Caucus will grumble about this but not loudly or for too long. For one thing, there are already three black Democrats set to assume committee chairmanships. For another thing, Silvestre Reyes, a Latino, is the leading candidate to chair the Intel Committee now. And then there’s this:
[John] Conyers played a key role — perhaps the key role — in the House impeachment. Because Hastings was black, and because Conyers, a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus, had a great interest in issues of race and justice — at one point in the committee hearing, Conyers explained that he joined the Judiciary Committee “because of my concern for the impact of racism on the judicial system” — many lawmakers looked to Conyers’s opinion as the final word on whether the charges against Hastings were valid. “Conyers was the decider,” says Terence Anderson, the University of Miami law professor who has defended Hastings for decades. “If Conyers had said no, I think the House would not have proceeded.”
Update: Between this and his letter blaming the “misinformed fools” of the conservative punditocracy for his troubles, I’m starting to wonder if Pelosi bagged him simply for being too much of a petulant jackass:
“I have been informed by the speaker-elect that I will not serve as the chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence in the 110th Congress,” he said. “I am obviously disappointed with this decision.” Hastings won election to Congress in 1992, after having been impeached and removed from office as a federal judge. He concluded his statement by saying, “Sorry, haters, God is not finished with me yet.”