“I wish I could say it was a surprise,” said the mayor said when asked about Grimm at an event in Manhattan. When asked at press conferences about the congressman in the past, de Blasio has hedged. On Monday, though, he got down to specifics. “I think it’s something that has been anticipated for a long time.”
De Blasio went on to say that he had already endorsed Grimm’s Democratic opponent in the upcoming election, former New York City Council member Domenic Recchia. He said he believes Recchia will win.
Despite his legal woes, first-term Congressman Grimm has made it clear that he will not resign, nor give up his bid for re-election. In addition, his name is already on the ballot, and it would be difficult to remove at this point.
De Blasio’s comments were a pointed jab at Rep. Grimm, who has repeatedly taken the new administration to task for its slow pace on Superstorm Sandy recovery.
In a March letter to the U.S. Government Accountability Office and the Inspector General’s Office at Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Grimm asked for New York City’s use of Sandy funds to be investigated. HUD oversees disaster recovery funding.
The letter pointed to the need for a “thorough, independent review” of how New York City has handled HUD funding, as few New Yorkers have received benefits, despite the city having paid itself back $360 million for costs.
Though de Blasio has managed to work with other New York City Republican political leaders such as Staten Island Borough President James Oddo, his relationship with Grimm has been icy.
The congressman represents all of Staten Island in the U.S. House of Representatives, and maintains a highly active presence in Staten Island, particularly on Sandy recovery issues. Grimm has been absent however at the mayor’s three major Sandy recovery press events in his first months in office, two of which were on Staten Island.
The mayor has always maintained to inquisitive reporters that the congressman was invited, while Grimm has said the mayor has refused to even have a face-to-face meeting with him despite repeated requests.
In mid-April, Grimm criticized the de Blasio administration’s plan for Sandy housing recovery, Build It Back, as being too vague.
“No one in the Mayor’s office, nor the Mayor himself … seems to know exactly how much Build it Back needs to cover all Sandy victims in the program,” stated Grimm in a press release after a Staten Island press conference that he didn’t attend. “…f they do, they certainly aren’t sharing the specifics to help me make a credible case for more funding.”
Grimm is New York City’s only member of congress from the majority party in the House of Representatives, where all federal appropriations bills must originate. He was also on the House Financial Services Committee, which he has temporarily resigned from until his name is cleared in court. Through the committee, he was instrumental in the recent passage of the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act, which ensured that some FEMA flood insurance rate hikes were cancelled.
From The Associated Press