Rangel returns to home turf, says he still loves Congress

U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel returned to his home turf in the city’s Harlem neighborhood Saturday, saying he still loves Congress — despite a showdown with colleagues over ethics violations that led to his censure by the House.

“I have not lost my ability to love the Congress and to love this country,” he said at Harlem Hospital, where a crowd at a town hall meeting gave him a standing ovation as he entered.

The 80-year-old Democrat appeared confident and as defiant as ever about the allegations that led to his public scolding Thursday.

Asked whether he’d specifically address the 11 ethics charges of which a House subcommittee found him guilty, he cited the House Ethics Committee’s website, saying it shows that “Charles Rangel is not guilty of corruption or self-enrichment.”

The House found that the 20-term congressman had failed to pay taxes on a vacation villa, filed misleading financial disclosure forms and improperly solicited donations for a college center from corporations with business before his committee.


President signs legislation that will avert shutdown

President Obama has signed legislation that keeps the government running and averts a shutdown that could have happened this weekend.

The bill that Obama signed Saturday gives the lame-duck Congress two more weeks to try to pass legislation funding the government for the rest of the budget year — through September.

If that fails, lawmakers will have to pass another temporary measure to fund agencies into next year, when Republicans will control the House.


Emergency vessels head out to aid stricken cargo ship

Emergency vessels hurried to reach a cargo ship carrying nearly half a million gallons of fuel as it struggled off Alaska’s remote Aleutian Islands for a second day Saturday.

The 738-foot Golden Seas, with a full load of canola seed, developed engine troubles in strong winds and rough seas Friday that caused it to drift toward Atka Island, about 1,300 miles southwest of Anchorage.

During the night, after the weather eased, it motored at about 3 to 4 mph back out to sea, reducing fears it would run aground, said Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Dana Warr.

A powerful commercial tug was expected to arrive Saturday evening, he said. Strong winds continued, with 16- to 20-foot seas, but calmer weather appeared to be moving in.

Plans called for the 18,000-horsepower Tor Viking II to tow the Golden Seas to port at Dutch Harbor, about 275 miles away, by tonight or Monday morning.