By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
US Rep. Michael Grimm isn’t even up for re-election until next year, but if the pre-campaign activity is any indication, the race between the Republic incumbent and his likely Democratic challenger is going to be a dogfight.
Councilman Domenic Recchia Jr. (D-Coney Island-Gravesend-Bensonhurst), who announced earlier this year that he intends to run against Grimm (R-C-Brooklyn-Staten Island) in 2014, wasted no time in blasting the incumbent following a New York Post article on June 1 in which it was reported that Grimm refused to sign on to legislation that would end funding cuts to the 9/11 victims compensation fund because he was miffed at not being invited to a press conference where the bill as discussed.
Recchia said Grimm’s actions smacked of “self-aggrandizing, petty politics.” Grimm called Recchia “a complete empty suit and utter hypocrite.”
The funding cuts to the health program for 9/11 first responders are due to sequestration. A bill currently under consideration in congress would reinstate sequestration cuts of $17 million from the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund and $10 million from the World Trade Center Health Fund.
“This is self-aggrandizing, petty politics at its worst,” Recchia said, referring to Grimm’s alleged stance. “First, Grimm punished our first responders by supporting the sequestration. And, now, when given the chance to make things right, Grimm’s punishing these heroes once again. This time though he’s making them suffer because he didn’t get his 15 minutes of fame. It’s ridiculous,” he said.
Recchia urged the House Budget Committee to take action to pass the bill, sponsored by US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York) and US Rep. Peter King (R-Long Island), and restore the funds.
But Grimm said it wasn’t a fit of pique, but rather, concern for all first responders that caused him to oppose the legislation.
"It is amazing that stories can be written without any regard for the facts. There is only one reason I haven’t cosponsored the legislation and that is because it would be poor policy to pick winners and losers from a list that shouldn’t have any losers. When it comes to funding for 9/11 health, Sandy relief, our troops in harm’s way, or Medicare for our seniors; how can we pick one over the other to exempt from these cuts?” Grimm said.
"However, my opponent has shown his true colors as a pathetic political hack and has crossed the line! As a 9/11 first responder, and the godfather to children that lost their godmother in this horrific attack, I am personally offended by the use of 9/11 for petty, political gain,” said Grimm. The congressman is a former FBI agent who worked on "the pile" at Ground Zero after the 9/11 attack.