Miami congressman Joe Garcia came under fire Tuesday when he made reference to the "Taliban" while speaking about the government shutdown on the U.S. House floor.
"What needs to be done is we need to sit. I sat with my colleagues on the other side just yesterday. You could see the angst in their eyes, but unfortunately they've been taken hostage by extremist elements in their party," Garcia, a Democrat, said. "The time has come to put these guys aside. Come to a deal. We can fix a lot of these problems."
Later in the speech, he added: "We just need our colleagues to step up and push aside these extremist elements, this Taliban that is in America's core for some reason."
The comment drew the ire of the National Republican Congressional Committee and the Republican Party of Florida.
"Congressman Joe Garcia's remarks on the floor of the United States House of Representatives, equating some of his colleagues to the Taliban, is reprehensible and disgusting," RPOF Chairman Lenny Curry said, according to the Herald.
"Congressman Garcia needs to apologize to his colleagues and all Floridians."
Garcia later clarified his remark.
"I'm not referring to any member. I was talking about extremism," Garcia said. "If anyone is offended, I’m sorry."
The partial government shutdown went into effect Tuesday as a long-running dispute over President Barack Obama's health care law stalled a temporary funding bill, forcing about 800,000 federal workers off the job and suspending most non-essential federal programs and services.
Garcia also said that in Florida alone 90,000 people will be sent home.