But in the end, that argument did not prevail, with the House rejecting an amendment to reduce the punishment down to a reprimand.
Three Republicans who favored reprimand over censure were Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), Don Young (R-Alaska), and Ron Paul (R-Texas).
The censure recommendation rankled some Democrats, including House Majority Whip James Clyburn of South Carolina and New York Rep. Gregory Meeks, both of whom said they wouldn't vote for censure.
At their closed-door caucus meeting earlier Thursday, some House Democrats expressed frustration at a lack of options and asked how individual members could introduce resolutions calling for a lesser sanction, sparking a discussion about procedure.
After Rangel walked out of the first day of his ethics hearing, he spent the weeks leading up to today's vote lobbying his colleagues as well as campaign supporters, urging them to contact their members of Congress and vote against censure and for something less.
But after the Ethics Committee recommended censure by a vote of 9 to 1, significant support for a lesser punishment never materialized.
On Nov. 16, an Ethics subcommittee found Rangel guilty of 11 violations, including charges that he inappropriately solicited donations for a private public service center named after himself at City College of New York, left omissions on his financial disclosure forms, initially mishandled taxes on a Caribbean villa, and allowed his campaign to use a rent-subsidized apartment.