Eric Massa Claims Dems Forced Him Out Over Health Care Bill, Gay Wedding Party Comment; May Un-Quit

ericmassanewleft.jpg New York Congressman said last week he was leaving the House because of ill health, brushing off rumors (and later, evidence) of an ethics inquiry concerning his conduct around a male staffer. Now he says he's been shoved out by the Democratic Party for complicating their plan to pass a health care bill.

"This administration and this House leadership have said, quote-unquote, they will stop at nothing to pass this health care bill. And now they've gotten rid of me and it will pass. You connect the dots," said Massa the morning on a radio show.

Oh, and he might un-quit "if this becomes a national story." So clap hands for Eric Massa, everyone.

Massa took part in a series of health care town halls in his district last summer, and in November explained his vote against H.R. 3962, saying it did not contain a "robust" public option, and did not sufficiently regulate the health insurance industry. "The public option in this bill is available for only about 2 percent of the American population," he said, "and its premium rates will match private health insurance, guaranteeing no effective competition in the marketplace."

Massa is set to leave Congress this afternoon. On his home page, he cites his use of language that made one of his staff feel "uncomfortable," and adds, "I fell short and I believe now, as I have always believed, that it is not enough to simply talk the talk, but rather I must take action to hold myself accountable." Still, he blames "the incredibly toxic atmosphere that is Washington D.C.," in which "the destruction of our elected leaders [has] become a blood sport."

On the radio show he also described what he supposes is the incident that got the attention of the House panel: after "I don't know, 15 gin and tonics, and goodness only knows how many bottles of champagne" at a wedding party, a staffer encouraged Massa to go after a bridesmaid, whereupon Massa recollects he "said, 'Well, what I really ought to be doing is fracking you.' And then [I] tossled the guy's hair and left, went to my room, because I knew the party was getting to a point where it wasn't right for me to be there."

More here. Massa claims to hold -- at least till he quits -- the "deciding vote on health care" in the House. Also, he seems to really dislike Rahm Emanuel.

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