A picture of Representative Michael G. Grimm
Michael G.
Former Republican NY 11
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    Hurricane Sandy Relief

    by Former Representative Michael G. Grimm

    Posted on 2013-01-02

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    GRIMM. Mr. Speaker, it's very difficult to stand here and have to speak to my constituents knowing that we're going to break, we're going to end this Congress, and I'm going to go and walk the streets in Midland Beach, in South Beach, in New Dorp Beach and Tottenville, and I'm going to meet with homeowners that I've been meeting with for 9 weeks now and I can't [[Page H7570]] tell them that everything is going to be okay because, as of right now, everything is not okay. In fact, it's far from okay.

    I don't often agree with my colleague that just spoke, Mr. Nadler, on a lot of substantive issues, but I have to agree with him today, and that is not an easy thing for me to do because there was a betrayal. There was an error in judgment that is going to cost, I think, the trust of the American people, not from me individually, not necessarily even for the Members here today, but for this body as a whole as we move forward.

    I couldn't be more proud to be an American. You know, I used to tease people that I bleed red, white, and blue. Since I was young, I knew I would serve in the military, and I did. And I would have given my life for this country time and time again. And even later on, I put myself in harm's way serving with one of the greatest organizations this country has to offer with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, a huge honor. And I really, really felt, when I took my oath as a Member of Congress, that it would be a level of service that would even outweigh my prior service because I was going to be in a position to help my fellow Americans every way that I could and to actually go out and touch my friends, neighbors, even those that didn't support me or had different political ideologies, I was going to be able to use the work ethic that I inherited from my father to make their life a little better. That's why I took this job, to make people's lives a little better, to make life in the United States a little better. And I'm not able to do that today, and I don't understand why.

    {time} 1020 And I think it's inexcusable that we did not have this vote and bring those that are suffering, those men and women that are looking at their children right now, and they're not sure what to tell them because they've lost their small business, their only source of income.

    And why is that important? Well, because the SBA and FEMA and all the government officials that hit the ground when Superstorm Sandy hit explained that if you didn't get money into the hands of these small businesses almost immediately, then most likely they would go under. If you don't start rebuilding right away, people start to become depressed and they lose hope. Let's not even discuss the economic impact.

    So to delay this vote, even for another day, is something that will resonate, not only with the people that have been affected and are suffering and have lost everything, but I think it will resonate with the American people for a long time; and I think it will make them wonder what we are here for and what is the role of the Federal Government, what is the role of the Congress, and maybe most importantly, can they trust us.

    So it is with a heartfelt apology that I apologize to my constituents, to my fellow New Yorkers in need, those in New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania. I did all that I could. I will not stop. I will not relent, and I will continue to push for this vote to come as quickly as possible. But there is no rhyme nor reason, and it is inexcusable that it has not come already.

    You are in my thoughts and my prayers, and I will be there on the ground as soon as I get back to New York to help as much as I can, knowing that I'm not helping nearly enough because we don't have the funding to do so.

    I want to thank my colleagues across the aisle that have been exemplary. It has been an honor to work so closely with you on these efforts. It has been not only bipartisan but bicameral. Governors, mayors all across the aisles have weighed in, and that is something that I will treasure and will continue to do as we move forward, knowing that we should not have to be here today.


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