By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
US Rep. Michael Grimm stepped into the ongoing Republican Party feud between US Senator Rand Paul and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, calling remarks the Kentucky senator made about the Congress-approved Superstorm Sandy relief package taking funding away from national defense “disgraceful.”
Grimm (R-C-Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights-Staten Island) said he was speaking out as a representative of a district where residents suffered devastating damage in the Oct. 29 storm.
“Senator Rand Paul’s remarks are disgraceful. I saw the Sandy devastation with my own eyes. I comforted those who lost children and husbands, and others who lost every treasured possession they own,” Grimm said on July 29.
The Washington Post reported that Paul, a Libertarian-leaning Republican who is considering a run for president in 2016, has been feuding with Christie and with US Rep. Peter King (R-Long Island) over Sandy relief funding, which Paul voted against. In his remarks, Paul appeared to be saying that Sandy relief funds are bankrupting the government and leaving little money for national defense.
“They’re precisely the same people who are unwilling to cut the spending, and they’re ‘Gimme, gimme, gimme — give me all my Sandy money now,’” the Washington Post quoted Paul as saying at a fundraiser in Tennessee, in reference to Christie and King. “These are the people who are bankrupting the government and not letting enough money be left over for national defense. So I think it’s those people who are making us weak in defense,” Paul was quoted as saying.
Many conservatives in Congress criticized the Sandy relief package because the legislation did not include federal spending cuts to offset expenditures. Conservatives also charged that the legislation contained too much pork and that the pork would not actually help Sandy victims.
But Grimm expressed his disgust with Paul’s remarks. “To criticize northeast Republicans for fighting tooth and nail to bring relief to the very people we represent is reprehensible. This is what we were elected to do and we delivered,” he said.
Grimm also said that Libertarians like Rand Paul “are continually hurting the Republican brand.”
In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, “it’s clear that Senator Paul would rather put ideology before humanity,” Grimm said. “Unfortunately, ideology will not rebuild a home or help a small business recover. This type of rhetoric we continue to hear from Senator Paul and others is not only unproductive in Congress, but a threat to all Americans who put their faith and confidence in elected officials should disaster strike – whether it is Superstorm Sandy or 9/11,” the congressman said.
“As a Marine combat veteran and a former FBI agent, I have always fought to strengthen national security. Sandy relief and national defense are not mutually exclusive, and for Senator Paul to argue that one diminishes the other is simply moronic,” Grimm said.