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WASHINGTON – After being admonished by an ethics panel for accepting corporate-sponsored trips to the Caribbean, Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y., will take a “leave of absence” from his chairmanship of the powerful House Ways and Means committee, NBC News has learned.

Rangel said early Wednesday that he would hold a 9 a.m. ET press conference to answer questions about his status.

The top spot may temporarily go to Rep. Sander Levin, D-Mich., according to leadership sources, or to Rep. Pete Stark of California, the committee’s second-ranking Democrat.

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Charlie Rangel To Be Admonished By House Ethics Committee

With Ethics Under Scrutiny, Rangel At Times Gloomy And Defiant