Congressman Michael Grimm is allegedly ignoring legislation that would unlock millions of dollars in compensation funds for 9/11 victims because he wasn’t invited to press conference hosted by the Fealgood Foundation. The New York Post is reporting that Grimm still hasn’t put his support behind the bill three months after the snub took place.
The press conference in question was a bipartisan affair that featured Democratic Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer, Republican Congressman Peter King and Democratic Congressman Carolyn Maloney. The politicians on hand promoted bills that would help 9/11 victims and first responders, families entrenched in Grimm’s district.
The Post described the nature of the bill that Grimm refuses to back:
The bill — which has been sitting in the House Budget Committee — would make 9/11 health and compensation programs exempt from sequestration cuts that began in March.
Without its passage, at least $27 million of Zadroga Act money — $17 million from the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund and $10 million from the World Trade Center Health Fund — will not be disbursed.
The bill’s 22 co-sponsors include other New York lawmakers like Reps. Jose Serrano, Joseph Crowley and Yvette Clarke. Democrats Eliot Engel, Nita Lowey and Hakeem Jeffries have not signed on as co-sponsors.
John Feal, the president of the Fealgood Foundation, is outraged by Grimm’s actions.
“This is unacceptable and immature,” Feal told the Post. “It was an oversight. He wasn’t invited, and he took it personally.”
Feal was unrelenting in his criticism of Grimm’s stance on the matter, accusing him of exploiting the 9/11 victims and anniversary when it suits him politically.
“It’s petty politics. Congressman Grimm is someone I looked up to in the past and had a working relationship with. Shame on him for using 9/11 every anniversary and ignoring the first responders the other 364 days of the year,” Feal told the Post.
Naturally, Gravesend-based Councilman Domenic Recchia, who is seeking to unseat Grimm in 2014, used the news as an opportunity to blast his future opponent.
“This is self-aggrandizing, petty politics at its worst,” Recchia said in a press release. “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.