March 9th, 2010
01:45 PM ET
13 years ago

Hoyer responds to Massa

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption ="House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer on Tuesday dismissed Rep. Eric Massa's claim that he was forced out of Congress because of his opposition to health care reform."]

Washington (CNN) - House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer dismissed Tuesday as "absolutely untrue" former Rep. Eric Massa's claim that he was forced out of Congress because of his opposition to health care reform.

Pressed by CNN about Massa's assertion that he was pushed out to save the health care bill and his criticism of the leadership tactics on the issue, Hoyer firmly responded, "It's absolutely untrue."

The number two House Democrat insisted repeatedly that there was no relationship between his actions regarding Massa and health care, emphasizing to reporters "Is anybody confused? Do I need to clarify that?"

At his weekly pen and pad with reporters, Hoyer called the accusation by Massa "absurd" and made a point to in his opening remarks to explain his role in the matter.

Hoyer recounted, as his spokeswoman did last week, that his staff was approached by a Massa aide on February 8th about allegations involving the New York Democrat.

Hoyer declined to address the specifics about what Massa's aide told Hoyer's staff about the allegations, only that they "sounded serious."

"I knew some, but not the details," Hoyer said.

A senior Democratic aide told CNN last week that the allegations involved a male staffer who was made to feel uncomfortable. The aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the discussions among staff were private on a sensitive matter and because of the Ethics Committee investigation, said the allegations involved "a sexual implication."

Hoyer said "our advice to staff [Massa' staff] was that they report this matter to the Ethics committee and if they had not done so in an appropriate matter of time. - i.e. Friday- we heard about this on Wednesday – we would initiate that ourselves."

Hoyer also responded to Massa's claim in a radio program that the majority leader lied about talking to him directly. "I never talked to Mr. Massa. What I told you happened. My staff talked to his staff."

Filed under: Eric Massa • Steny Hoyer
soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. gar

    Rep Hoyer and Speaker Pelosi have been trying to force an unpopular, expensive, poorly written healthcare bill on the Democrats and the nation. If they really listened to the people they would start smaller and simpler with medical malpractice reform, drug reimportation from Canada and the elimination of pre-existing exclusion. What they are doing is not listening to us. They destroyed Massa, they've destroyed our national budget, they are destroying our congress and now they want to destroy our healthcare system???

    We need to vote these turkeys out! We need viable 3rd party candidates and more balance with more Republicans in office.

    March 9, 2010 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  2. jm for sc

    I doubt seriously if Massa used the word, "fracking" to that aide. He is trying to save in reputation and will say anything to keep from being forced out of the closet. That word does not go with his actions as he admitted that he had his hand in the young man's hair.

    He is a homo and want to divert the attention from that fact by pretending he is against healthcare reform. Besides, if he is battling or have battled cancer, he should be the very last person to oppose helping others who do not have insurance.

    I say to Hoyer, continue pushing the investigation so that employee, male or female can feel safe in the work place.

    March 9, 2010 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  3. john

    I think it would be cool if Massa took a lie detector test and passed.

    March 9, 2010 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  4. Elliott Carlin

    Steny reminds me of the guy who could never get anywhere without someone else.

    Maybe Steny and Obama's mouthpiece Gibbs were also in the steam room naked, but I'm not betting on it.

    Anyone know about Rham's career as a ballerina?

    March 9, 2010 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  5. bob

    Yeah right, Steny and his boss Nancy Pelosi would not resort to that

    March 9, 2010 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  6. Susie

    Massa is a piece of work. Obviously all the stuff about him is true, or he wouldn't be on the defensive trying to make it look like Dem leadership is at fault. He would have stayed and fought for his job. Kind of like little old picked on Sarah. Had the ethics problems and Todd's role in her office been fiction, she would have stayed on to govern the state she loves so much she hops the first plane out each week now. Go away, both of you!

    March 9, 2010 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
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