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Posted at 02:11 PM ET, 03/14/2011

Freshman House Republican criticizes tea party conservatives over stopgap funding measure

As tea party-aligned groups and other conservative organizations are pressuring lawmakers to vote against Congress’ latest short-term funding measure, a member of the House Republican freshman class is pushing back, arguing that conservatives are “making a big mistake.”

New York Republican Rep. Michael Grimm said in a statement Monday that the “extreme wing” of his party is wrong in opposing the stopgap funding measure, which would cut $6 billion and keep the government running through April 8. Some lawmakers have opposed the bill on the grounds that it’s irresponsible to keep the government funded through a series of stopgap measures.

“The extreme wing of the Republican Party is making a big mistake with their flat-out opposition to a short-term continuing resolution,” Grimm said. “They’re not looking at the big picture, and the last thing we want to do is become like Nancy Pelosi in the last Congress, where it was ‘my way or the highway.’ Last week’s passing of the CR cut $ 4 billion, and this week we will cut $6 billion. Cutting spending is going to take small steps, and each successful step must be viewed as a victory.”

Grimm, a former FBI agent who represents Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn, acknowledged that there is “some opposition” to working with Senate Democrats toward a budget compromise. But he criticized “the extreme right of the tea party” for its opposition to the stopgap bill, contending that those opposing the measure “would rather see a government shut-down than pass a short-term solution.”

“If we’re going to do what we set out to do, we have to set realistic expectations, and cannot bow to the extreme right or left,” Grimm added. “Those views don’t represent what’s best for our country and they certainly do not represent the views of the majority of my district.”

Grimm’s statement isn’t the first time he has called for moderation on the issue of government funding; last month, along with fellow New York Republican Rep. Peter King, he penned a letter urging House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to reconsider some cuts included in the House Republicans’ longer-term funding measure, including cuts to mass transit, local police funding and heating assistance for low-income persons.

By  |  02:11 PM ET, 03/14/2011

 
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