GOP Freshman Bashes Tea Party Opposition to CR

Posted March 14, 2011 at 12:57pm

Freshman Rep. Michael Grimm on Monday slammed tea party activists and the “extreme wing of the Republican Party” for mounting opposition to a stopgap spending measure.

In a statement released by his office Monday, the New York Republican argued that demanding ideological purity is “not looking at the big picture, and the last thing we want to do is become like [Minority Leader] Nancy Pelosi in the last Congress, where it was ‘my way or the highway.’”

Grimm is the first GOP freshman to forcefully come out against conservative opposition to a second, short-term continuing resolution to keep the government operating for an additional three weeks. The measure would cut an additional $6 billion in spending. Reps. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and Steve King (R-Iowa), along with a number of tea-party-backed freshmen, have raised objections to the CR, demanding that leadership hold firm on an earlier full spending bill that cuts the budget by $61 billion.

Grimm’s statement comes just two months after he joined a handful of tea-party-inspired freshmen and Bachmann at a press event following a constitutional lecture from Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

But on Monday, Grimm was pulling no punches.

“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. 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,” he said in the statement.

Kathleen Hunter contributed to this report.