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MATTHEWS: Well, now the House of Representatives tonight has a second
chance. On January 3, the House passed a $9.7 billion bill that would help
pay Sandy victims` insurance claims by replenishing the National Flood
Insurance Program. Well, today the House votes, actually tonight, on the
big money, more than $50 billion in Sandy aid.
Joining me right now is New York Congressman Michael Grimm, who represents
areas in Staten Island that were devastated by this storm.
Congressman, thank you for joining us tonight.
Let me just show you an ad that was run back in 1964 by the Republicans --
the Democrats, rather, representing the opinion of the Republican Party
voiced by Barry Goldwater. This was a very hot ad way before you were
born. Let`s take a look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NARRATOR: In a "Saturday Evening Post" article dated August 31, 1963,
Barry Goldwater said, "Sometimes, I think this country would be better off
if we could just saw off the Eastern Seaboard and let it float out to sea."
Can a man who makes statements like this be expected to serve all the
people justly and fairly?
Vote for President Johnson on November 3. The stakes are too high for you
to stay home.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Congressman Grimm, is there an anti-New York attitude in the
Republican Party nationally, anti-New York?
REP. MICHAEL GRIMM (R), NEW YORK: I don`t think so.
I mean, there`s always been a little bias against New York. I think that
goes way back. There`s no question. I have seen it and I have felt it.
But I think what we have right now is just, you know, the deep-rooted
concern overall that the country is spending money that it doesn`t have and
the need to be fiscally responsible, which I wholeheartedly agree with and
I respect. It`s just, when things like this happen, natural disasters,
MATTHEWS: I didn`t hear this during Katrina.
MATTHEWS: I didn`t hear it during Katrina, when the Southerners were
voting their own pocketbooks, when the Southern Republicans who dominate
your party were helping themselves out in what was really a tragedy, as
well as this one, and it was very vivid, maybe more vivid in terms of
national coverage than New York.
And I got to tell you, I didn`t hear anybody talking about set-asides or
offsets. I heard them saying let`s get the money to people like Haley
Barbour. Let`s get them the money.
GRIMM: Well, I understand that, but, again, let`s look back at history.
The dynamics were a little different. You were in a totally different
political climate then.
All we have been speaking about for the last two years is cutting spending
and so on, the revenue vs. spending, these fights.
GRIMM: So, it has -- it`s more to do about where we are in time right now.
We also didn`t have a deficit and debt crisis the way we do right now. So,
let`s -- let`s be fair about the facts. We are in a debt crisis.
GRIMM: However, when something like this happens, it`s an exception to the
rule. These people are hurting. They need the help of the federal
government. And that`s what we`re going to deliver today.
The bottom line is, we`re going to move forward. We`re going to get this
MATTHEWS: You know, I have been blessed to get to know some of the really
good people up in your borough, people like Teddy Atlas and people like
James Molinaro, your borough president. They`re really doing great work up
Tell us how bad it is. We`re looking at pictures right now, Congressman,
of these people that were underwater during the flood and have just been
devastated. I saw some of that stuff on your own island of Staten Island a
couple weeks ago. It was really rough.
GRIMM: It`s horrendous. This is a war zone. I mean, let me be very
clear, do not -- don`t forget about -- you see homes crushed. You see
people`s personal belongings wiped out to sea. But there`s also emotional
scars that you cannot see.
Just this past weekend, I had a mother tell me her children are deathly
afraid when it rains because they think there`s going to be another flood.
You know, those are the stories that you don`t see every day in the news
but the impact, they are devastated, they`re emotionally a wreck, and
that`s also why we`re fighting so hard to pass this package, to give them a
little normalcy back in their lives.
MATTHEWS: You know, I`ll say you got one thing going for you, community
spirit. I have never seen anything like it at St. Charles Church up there
in Staten, the way those people really held together and Teddy Atlas`
operation. It was so inspiring to see people work so hard for each other.
GRIMM: I have never been more proud of Staten Island. I have never been
more proud of my constituency. Teddy Atlas is a friend.
I have been in the boxing gym when I`ve been corrected. Let me just say
I`m very, very, very proud of Staten Island.
MATTHEWS: You should be.
GRIMM: They are resilient and they are tough but they do need our help.
MATTHEWS: I agree. Let`s hope it works tonight. Thank you, Congressman
Michael Grimm, who represents Staten Island and other parts of New York.
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