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House Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) got a slap on the wrist from the Speaker pro tempore on Tuesday for making “improper references” to President Bush on the floor.

Rangel made his comments during debate of the president’s veto of legislation that would delay by 18 months a 10.6-percent Medicare physician pay cut.

By vetoing the bill, which cleared both chambers last month by a veto-proof margin, “the president demonstrated once again a reckless, mean-spirited disregard” for the health of children, poor people and senior citizens, said the New York Democrat.

It is up to lawmakers to “send a message to the president,” he said. “His days of doing us harm are very, very numbered.”

As Rangel walked away from the podium, Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.), who was serving as the Speaker pro tem, issued a reminder to Members “to avoid making improper references to the president.”

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