WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Rep. Charles Rangel, a New York Democrat, said Wednesday he will not step down as chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee in the face of a call from the Republican leader in the House for him to do so.
Rangel has been under fire for failing to report income from a rental property he owns in the Dominican Republic.
He admitted Tuesday he had not paid tax on the income, but said it was a mistake and he will pay whatever back taxes he owes. He said the income had gone directly toward paying down the mortgage on the property and he had rarely if ever received income statements related to it.
"I really didn't pay any attention to it. I wasn't getting any money from it," he said, calling his failure to pay taxes "an omission that's irresponsible, and that's it."
"I don't believe that making mistakes means you have to give up your career," he said.
He also admitted that he had not been charged interest on the mortgage for the past 18 years, but said he had "no clue" that the mortgage lender had made that decision. He denied having been singled out for preferential treatment.
Rangel's Ways and Means Committee writes tax law, among other responsibilities.
Republicans have been hammering Rangel over the financing of the beachfront property
"Given Chairman Rangel's continuing ethical lapses, he cannot effectively carry out his duties as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee," GOP leaders said in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California.
Rangel said he felt "embarrassed" for House Republican leader John Boehner of Ohio for feeling he had to call for Rangel to step down.
"It is my understanding that he feels politically he has to do this, and I feel sorry for him," Rangel said.
He has also defended himself against allegations that he improperly leased a rent-controlled apartment to use as an office, and that he misused House stationery to solicit money for a New York academic center bearing his name.