Freshman Republican plays down differences on spending bill

A New York freshman Republican played down the defection of 54 of his colleagues on the latest spending bill as a "difference of opinion on strategy" as opposed to fissures within the GOP majority.

Democratic leaders suggested Tuesday that the votes against the stopgap spending bill were a sign the GOP "cannot agree with themselves."

"The problem that we have is that the Republican majority does not agree with itself," House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (Md.) told reporters after the vote.

The GOP votes against the short-term measure increased nine fold over the previous continuing resolution (CR) vote earlier this month.

Grimm, who voted for the measure, said the debate within the GOP was "healthy."

"We're debating, we're talking, we have a discussion going on as opposed to three people going in a room and declaring the law," he told The Ballot Box. "I think it's been healthy."

Grimm on Monday criticized what he called the "extreme wing of the Republican Party" for refusing to back the short-term funding measure. The Staten Island Republican said some of his constituents have also pushed him to vote against the CRs.

"Sure, there have been some that have said, 'no, we want you to hold the line, don't vote for any short-term CRs,'" he said. "We disagree there. But overall I think they're going to be happy with the outcome."

Grimm said his statement didn't bring him "any flack" from the other members of the GOP freshman contingent. 

"I think they understand who I am. I've been lockstep with the Tea Party in all our core values. I always have and I always will because I believe in the same things," he said. "What I'm worried about is these fringe groups, left and right, who try to control the conversation and are taking our eyes off the ball."

Arizona Rep. David Schweikert, another freshman Republican who supported the bill, said the votes against it were a sign of "frustration."

"You can tell, a lot of folks are getting frustrated at the pace," he said. "A lot of us who are new here who want more good things to happen and realize that sometimes this place seems to move at a snail's pace."