Retiring Dem Says He was Forced Out the House

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WASHINGTON - Rep. Eric Massa may be leaving Capitol Hill, but he's not going quietly.

The retiring Democratic congressman from New York is taking aim at the Obama administration -- and the health care debate is part of the fire storm.

Massa was forced out of the House allegedly for sexually harassing a male aide. But now he claims he was ousted because he was going to vote "no" on health care reform.

"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 health care bill, then ladies and gentlemen. you live today in a world that is so innocent as to not understand what's going on in Washington, D.C.," Massa claimed.

He accused the White House of playing hard ball, describing a brush he had in the House gym showers with Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.

"And here comes Rahm Emanuel, not even with a towel wrapped around his tush, poking his finger in my chest yelling at me because I wasn't going to vote for the president's budget." Massa said.

Democrats say his allegations are absurd.

"I think this whole story is ridiculous, plus I think the latest excuse is silly and ridiculous," White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said.

Doubting Dems Pile Up

But Massa isn't the only doubting Democrat when it comes to health care reform. Pro-life Democrat Bart Stupak and a dozen or so supporters are worried the overhaul will allow federal dollars to pay for abortions.

President Obama is hitting the campaign trail to whip up public support and pressure Congress. One tactic -- tackling the insurance companies.

"Just last month, Anthem Blue Cross in California tried to jack up rates by nearly 40 percent," he said. "Anybody's paycheck gone up 40 percent?"

In Washington, demonstrators gathered to protest against the insurance companies and their sky-high rates.

"This vote is about one thing -- are you for the insurance companies or are you for the American people?" former Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean said at the protest.

Industry spokesmen answer that only one penny of every dollar spent on health care goes to health plan profits.

But after what he claims happened to him, Rep. Massa said fear may make more House Democrats toe the party line.

"I guarantee you, there's not a single member of the Democratic freshman class who is going to vote against this health care bill, now that they got me," he said.

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Paul  Strand

Paul Strand

CBN News Washington Sr. Correspondent

As senior correspondent in CBN's Washington, D.C., bureau, Paul Strand has covered a variety of political and social issues, with an emphasis on defense, justice, and Congress.  Follow Paul on Twitter @PaulStrandCBN and "like" him at Facebook.com/PaulStrandCBN.