As the federal government shutdown began on Tuesday, US Rep. Michael Grimm, the lone Republican in New York City’s congressional delegation, was hit with sharp criticism from the left over his vote to keep the government running at the expense of the Affordable Care Act.
Grimm (R-C-Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights-Staten Island) joined fellow Republicans in voting for the bill on Monday. The bill was quickly rejected by the US Senate, with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) saying that his members would not take up any measure that called for defunding the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
The dispute between the Republican controlled House and the Democratic majority in the senate led to the first shutdown of the federal government since the Clinton Administration, with both sides blaming each other for the morass. The shutdown began at midnight on Oct. 1.
Councilman Domenic Recchia (D-Coney Island-Gravesend-Bensonhurst), who has announced his intention to run against Grimm next year, was among those criticizing the congressman over the vote, charging that it helped lead the country down the path of a government shutdown. “Tonight, in a massive governing failure, Michael Grimm voted in lockstep with Ted Cruz and the Tea Party to shutdown the United States government,” Recchia said in a statement issued late on Sept. 30.
“This de-habilitating action is widely expected to inflict significant harm on the American economy and will delay further action from the federal government for Superstorm Sandy recovery. Grimm took this action despite the fact that thousands of constituents in Staten Island and South Brooklyn continue to struggle to rebuild their lives in the wake of the storm that hit almost a year ago,” Recchia stated.
“Michael Grimm’s decision tonight to stand in lockstep with the Tea Party and take America over the budgetary cliff is irresponsible beyond measure,” Recchia concluded.
Grimm was also the target of a protest scheduled to take place outside his district office on Staten Island Tuesday afternoon.
“Congressman Grimm voted to give in to Tea Party demands and shut down the government, all so that he could take away critical patient protections and give insurance companies free rein to raise health care costs,” Sebastian Franco, one of the protest leaders, wrote in an email to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.
Grimm appeared unfazed by all of the criticism. The Staten Island Advance reported that the congressman was blaming the senate for the shutdown.
Grimm told the Advance that he hoped the shutdown would be short.
The GOP lawmaker also stated that he didn’t think about his political future when he cast his vote. "I could care less about the politics of which side as an advantage in 2014. Our entire government has taken a hit,” he told the Advance.