Rep. Eric Massa (D-NY) announced today that he will resign, effective Monday at 5 p.m.
Massa, a freshman legislator, announced this week that he would not seek re-election, due to a cancer recurrence scare. The House ethics panel is also investigating Massa, reportedly for allegations of sexual harassment.
In a statement, Massa acknowledged the allegations for the first time.
“After I decided not to run again I was told, for the first time, that a member of my staff believed I had made statements that made him feel ‘uncomfortable,'” he said.He went on to blame his language for the incident.
“I own this reality. There is no doubt in my mind that I did in fact, use language in the privacy of my own home and in my inner office that, after 24 years in the Navy, might make a Chief Petty Officer feel uncomfortable,” he continued. “In fact, there is no doubt that this Ethics issue is my fault and mine alone.”
“I know that my own language failed to meet the standards that I set for all around me and myself. 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,” he said.
He did, however, blame the atmosphere in D.C. for his decision to resign over it.
“But in the incredibly toxic atmosphere that is Washington D.C., with the destruction of our elected leaders having become a blood sport, especially in talk radio and on the internet, there is also no doubt that an Ethics investigation would tear my family and my staff apart,” he said.
Massa denied the allegations to TPMDC on Wednesday.
“I made my statement. The allegations are totally false. I’m a salty old sailor. That’s that,” he said. On a conference call announcing his retirement, he also referred to his “salty language” as reason for the allegations.
If Massa does resign, the House will only need 216 votes — rather than 217 — to pass health care reform. Massa voted no on the reform bill last year.