New lewd photos emerged of Representative Anthony Weiner on Sunday as Democratic party leaders renewed calls for him to resign over an Internet sex scandal that prompted him to seek a leave and treatment.
Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chair of the Democratic National Committee, said party leaders including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi decided to make a coordinated push for Weiner to step down once it was clear he did not intend to do so.
"At the end of the day a member of Congress makes their own decision and that's certainly going to be up to Anthony Weiner," Wasserman Schultz said on NBC's "Meet the Press".
"But we have made clear that he needs to resign, he needs to focus on getting his own personal issues in order, focus on his family and do the right thing for his constituents."
Weiner's spokeswoman said the New York congressman checked into a treatment facility and would be requesting a "short leave" of absence from the House of Representatives so he could get evaluated and map out a course of treatment.
She did not respond to questions about reports that Weiner was waiting for his wife, Huma Abedin, an aide to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, to return from Africa before deciding whether to resign.
Wasserman Schultz's comments came as new pictures emerged on the Internet of the seven-term congressman, dressed only in a towel, taking photos of himself in front of a mirror in the congressional gym's locker room.
Weiner's determination to remain, bolstered by support from his New York City constituents, has angered Democrats. They say his inappropriate online exchanges with at least six women have hurt the party as it seeks to regain control of the House of Representatives from Republicans in 2012 elections.
The scandal has shifted public attention to Weiner's behavior and away from issues like the unpopular Republican plan to cut the Medicare healthcare program for the elderly.
"It pushes those stories off the front page. It's a bad story about the Democrats and the Democrats can't defend it," said Paul Sracic, head of the political science department at Youngstown State University in Ohio.
Republicans are also ready for the Weiner story to end.
"This is getting beyond ridiculous," said Representative Paul Ryan, head of the House Budget Committee, on CBS's "Face the Nation."
"We have got to get this behind us because it's a distraction," said Ryan, architect of the unpopular Medicare proposal. "He should resign ... Because we have got important work to do. And this is just a ridiculous distraction."
(Additional reporting by Richard Cowan; Editing by Doina Chiacu)Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun