[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/07/05/art.steny0705.gi.jpg 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."