"Which Mike Grimm is this--the one that ran as a tea party candidate, or the one that's now criticizing the tea party? I've got to figure out which Mike Grimm is representing that district. This guy ran on the backs and the shoulders of the tea party and now he's trying to kick them in the back," said Israel.
As the House debates another stopgap measure to continue to fund the government past Friday, there's an increasing pull in the GOP caucus between the new freshmen who have pledged allegiance to cutting spending and other members who have a desire to see a budget passed.
"It's one thing to criticize the tea party, but he still votes with the tea party, down the line. He may think he can escape the tea party, but he can't escape his tea party record," Israel said of Grimm.
Grimm defeated Democratic Rep. Michael McMahon in the 2010 election, but before that, had to win a GOP primary against Michael Allegretti, who was backed by the Republican establishment, while Grimm was endorsed by the Conservative Party and several tea party groups.
And as the budget fight looms on, Israel said that if Congress doesn't reach a compromise and the government does shut down, the blame will be on the Republicans.
"It shows that the Republicans aren't ready to govern," said Israel. "As long as we are offering constructive alternatives to the Republicans' budget abuses, I think the American people agree with our alternatives."
"The American people want us to cut spending - they just don't want us to cut government protection of their food safety," Israel added. "The Republicans have said less spending on food safety, but more money in tax subsidies for the five richest oil companies in the country. We're saying less spending on big oil companies and more spending on food safety. As long as we continue to pursue those contrasts, then I think we win the argument, and we win the election."
7:31 p.m. UPDATE: The National Republican Congressional Committee responds. "The truth is that Democrats have not offered any serious spending plans, while Republicans like Michael Grimm continue to look for ways to cut spending and offer voters the honest fiscal discipline they were promised," said NRCC spokesperson Tory Mazzola.