Eric Massa exits House, but not quietly

Eric Massa of New York, facing a House sexual harassment probe, resigns his seat – but he has slammed fellow Democrats, claiming they want him out because he opposed their healthcare reform bill. He'll speak out again Tuesday on TV talk shows, perhaps with more choice words.

By , / Staff writer

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    Eric Massa is seen in this 2005 file photo. The Democratic House Representative resigns his seat while under investigation for sexual harassment over comments he made to a male staffer.
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For all intents and purposes, Eric Massa is no longer a member of the US House.

The embattled freshman Democrat from New York had said he would resign effective 5 p.m. Monday EST, and after some formalities in the House on Tuesday, he will be truly out.

But the story will not end there. On Tuesday afternoon, he will appear for the full hour on Glenn Beck’s show on Fox, followed by an appearance on CNN’s "Larry King Live." After some of the choice comments Mr. Massa made over the weekend, it could make for spicy viewing.

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IN PICTURES: Retiring House Democrats

First Massa announced he was retiring for health reasons. Then he announced he would resign to avoid a House sexual harassment investigation over comments he made to a male staffer. Now Massa is claiming that Democratic leaders wanted him out because he voted against the party’s health reform legislation last November.

“If you think that somehow they didn’t come after me to get rid of me because my vote is the deciding vote in the healthcare bill, then ladies and gentlemen, you live today in a world that is so innocent as to not understand what is going on in Washington, D.C.,” he said Sunday on his weekly radio show on WKPQ-FM in Hornell, N.Y.

He also heaped particular scorn on White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, who ironically, when still a member of the House, had worked to get Massa elected.

Indeed, every “no” vote on healthcare that exits Congress helps President Obama and the majority Democrats, who are engaged in a last-ditch effort to enact reform. The Democratic leadership denies that Massa was forced out.

But it’s the more salacious bits of his radio broadcast that got the most attention, in which he described exactly what he said at a wedding reception that eventually got him reported to the House ethics committee. Massa has admitted he made an inappropriate statement to a staff member, calling it “salty” language from his days as a career Navy man.

“I own this reality,” he wrote on his website last Friday.

Over the weekend, his remorse turned to fury.

“You have my apology and you have my resignation because I am a human being,” he said on his radio show. “But I will not go quietly into the evening.”

It’s possible, if not probable, that Massa’s seat will sit vacant until the November elections. If so, his absence could indeed help the Democrats on healthcare reform in a scenario where every vote is crucial. In November, the seat is expected to go to a Republican.

IN PICTURES: Retiring House Democrats

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