On his radio show this weekend, Eric Massa asserts that he was railroaded out of office by the Democratic leadership because of his refusal to vote “yes” on the Senate health care bill. He says “Rahm Emanuel is son of the devil’s spawn…He is an individual who would sell his mother to get a vote,” and that he may rescind his resignation:
“Mine is now the deciding vote on the health care bill,” Massa, who on Friday announced his intention to resign, said during a long monologue on radio station WKPQ. “And 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.”
I have no idea what the ethics charges are against Massa, or whether they are valid. But what has seemed clear from the start is that Steny Hoyer and others did not waste the opportunity to show Massa to the door.
Massa was one of 39 Democrats to vote against the health care bill in the House the first time around. After it was announced that Nathan Deal would retire but would hang onto his seat through the health care vote, the Democrats needed 217 votes to pass the Senate bill. But leadership was having a hard time coming by those votes, and with Massa’s resignation, that number drops to 216.
Hoyer released a statement to the effect that he had been informed of the complaint the week of February 8, and told Massa’s staff that they had 48 hours to bring it to the attention of the Ethics Committee or he would do so himself. “Within 48 hours, Mr. Hoyer received confirmation from both the Ethics Committee staff and Mr. Massa’s staff that the Ethics Committee had been contacted and would review the allegations,” according to Katie Grant, Hoyer’s spokeswoman.
On the radio, Massa claimed that Hoyer is lying: “Steny Hoyer has never said a single word to me, at all, ever, not once. Not a word. This is a lie. It’s a blatant, false statement,” Massa said.
Totally aside from any merits of the ethics charges against Massa, recall that Norm Dicks, Jack Murtha, Jim Moran and Roland Burris all had their ethics charges dismissed in December. And then quelle suprise! Roland Burris, who had been threatening to withhold his cloture vote over the Senate bill without a public option, instantly became a convert. The rest were all safely in the “yes” column in the House. You could pretty much eat live babies on TV and get your ethics complaint dismissed if you were ready to play ball and vote for PhRMAcare.
So why has Hoyer been so coy about Massa until now? If Massa’s actions really were so scandalous that he needed to resign immediately and were deserving of “Mark Foley” comparisons, why didn’t Hoyer take action when he first heard of them a month ago?
There are a lot of inconsistencies in everyone’s stories and it’s hard to know who did what when. But it doesn’t look like Massa’s position on the Senate bill did him any favors with leadership.
More on the interview from Dave Dayen.