Massa to resign, health care threshold back to 216

MASSA TO RESIGN, HEALTH CARE THRESHOLD BACK TO 216…. Remember what I said this morning about health care reform needing 217 votes, not 216? Well, scratch that — Rep. Eric Massa (D-N.Y.), who announced his retirement earlier this week, will step down from the House in 72 hours.

Rep. Eric Massa (D-NY) will resign Monday at 5pm, a source close to the embattled incumbent tells Hotline OnCall.

Massa has been pressured by House Dems to step aside amid an ethics controversy that caused him to announce earlier this week he would not run for a second term.

Earlier this week, the House ethics committee confirmed it was looking in to allegations against Massa. Those allegations reportedly include sexual harassment of a member of the Congressman’s staff.

In a statement posted to his official website this afternoon, Massa acknowledged that his departure date is being moved up in part to avoid an Ethics Committee investigation that might “tear my family and my staff apart.” While his statement does not point to any specific areas of wrongdoing, the congressman concedes that he used language that might have made others “uncomfortable.” Massa’s statement also admits that his “language failed to meet the standards that I set for all around me and myself.”

Announcing his resignation, effective 5 p.m. (ET) on Monday, the New York lawmaker added that he steps down “with a profound sense of failure and a deep apology” to his constituents.

As this relates to health care reform, Massa’s resignation will drop the necessary number of votes to pass the legislation in the House back down to 216. Massa, a supporter of single-payer health care, voted against the Democratic proposal in November, but was considered a possible swing vote on the final package.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.