July 20th, 2010
04:43 PM ET
12 years ago

Tea Party Caucus: Who's in and who's out

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[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/07/20/art.bachmann.gi2.jpg caption ="Rep. Michele Bachmann proposed and pushed for the creation of a Tea Party caucus."] Washington (CNN) - One day before the first official meeting of the Tea Party caucus in the House of Representatives, the big question on Capitol Hill which Republicans will join the new caucus?

Rep. Michele Bachmann proposed and pushed for the caucus. The conservative congresswoman from Minnesota, who's a favorite of many Tea Party activists, won approval for the new organization late last week from the Democratic leadership.

Bachmann tells CNN that she's invited "a number of members" to come to the group's first meeting, which will be held prior to a news conference to premiere the caucus.

But she says she already has a big name on board.

"The very first member to join the Tea Party caucus was Mike Pence who's the Republican Conference chair. That's a pretty big endorsement," says Bachmann.

Pence, a five term congressman from Indiana who may make a bid for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination, tells CNN that "having spoken at the 9/12 march on Washington, having spoken at Tea Party rallies, and the fact that I'm proud to be a Tea Party endorsed candidate for re-election, I was honored to join the Tea Party caucus."

Also signing up (at the time of this article's posting) are Republican congressmen Paul Broun of Georgia, Dan Burton of Indiana, John Carter of Texas, Louie Gohmert of Texas, Peter Hoekstra of Michigan, and Todd Tiahrt of Kansas.

Rep. Pete Sessions of Texas, the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, said Tuesday that he's already joined the caucus as well. At a news conference with reporters, Sessions defended the Tea Party movement as "sincere" and "serious."

Not joining are the two top House Republicans: Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio and Minority Whip Eric Cantor of Virginia.

"It's Boehner's personal policy not be a member of any caucus other than the House Republican Conference," spokesman Michael Steel said in a statement.

Bachmann says she understands.

"Leader Boehner doesn't join any caucus other than the Republican Conference. That's his rule so that's certainly no repudiation," Bachmann said, adding she doesn't feel Cantor is rejecting the caucus either.

The year and a half old Tea Party movement has infused a lot of energy and enthusiasm into the GOP, and the party, trying to recover from major election defeats in 2006 and 2008, has to a degree, embraced the movement. But the creation of the Tea Party caucus comes as the anti-tax and limited federal government movement faces its biggest controversy.

Sunday the National Tea Party Federation expelled one of the largest and best known national Tea Party groups, the Tea Party Express, and its spokesman Mark Williams. The Federation, a three month old organization that seeks to represent the Tea Party political movement around the country, acted following of an inflammatory blog post Williams wrote last week about the NAACP. Williams says he wrote the incendiary blog post in response to an NAACP resolution last week that called on Tea Party leaders to crack down on racist elements in the movement.

Tuesday House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer questioned how many Republicans would want to join the new caucus.

"We'll see how many Republicans join the Tea Party Caucus and see whether or not they want to adopt the tea party agenda," the number two Democrat in the House told reporters at a news conference.

The Maryland Democrat also repeated what he stated on the Sunday talk shows, saying he didn't think the Tea Party movement itself was racist, but said he's "seen some virulent racist tracks, which I believe are harmful to the public discourse."

Bachmann says she hopes her caucus will eventually become bipartisan in nature.

"The first letter I wrote about the Tea Party caucus was to speaker (Nancy) Pelosi to invite her to also become a part of the Tea Party caucus, so I'm hoping Democrats and Republicans will come together to become a part of this caucus," says Bachmann. "We're not about any political party – it's about listening to the American people."

Filed under: 2010 • Congress • Michele Bachmann • Mike Pence • Tea Party movement
soundoff (137 Responses)
  1. Balls

    She is clueless if she thinks Reps AND Dems will join this caucus. oh wait, she is clueless nonetheless. anyone who urges Americans to reject the census forms should be voted out. She clearly is an idiot.

    July 20, 2010 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  2. NVa Native

    Planet Uranus is calling all its Looney Tunes, every one get out your tin-foil hats the circus is coming to town.
    Sad little clan of bat sheet nut-jobs on the loose.
    Palin and Bachmann are great – let's hope they be around a long time. Yes, right-wing crazies – ooohh ..... we are all very afraid of them.

    July 20, 2010 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  3. Darth Vadik, CA


    Remember that people approve of Republicans in congress 10 points less than Democrats...

    ...and 55% is really not 1 out of 3....

    ...and what are the Republican ideas to take care of this country?
    Do they have a plan??? Not that these racist would accept you anyway, you're a little too dark for their taste, moron, LOL, they'd send you to Gitmo "just to be sure", LOL

    July 20, 2010 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  4. get real

    Let me add to your fascinating statistics Naqib:

    1 in 8 think congress is doing their job

    6 in 8 think congress isn't doing enough (upset of GOP obstructionism)

    The last 1 in 8 are a right wing tea bagger birther nut jobs

    July 20, 2010 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  5. Victor G. Swift

    John McCain sure unleashed the genie from the bottle when he bet all his marbles on Sarah Palin. I'm sure that well meaning Republicans now wish Johnny boy would have kept the cork on that bottle even though they dare not say so in public for fear of retribution from the tea party. So much for freedom of speech. It's more like speak at you own risk or to your own detriment. The power of the genie (Palin Power) has the Republicans dumbfounded and speechless. Who says silence is golden? One woman with the power to bring the Republicans to her table or to their knees. Hey, this is fun to watch.

    July 20, 2010 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  6. Balls

    why is it that the christian right says such horrible things about poor people? they are "lazy", "selfish,", "bottom feeders." I dont think your Jesus would approve of this hatred spewing from your mouths.

    July 20, 2010 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  7. Independent One

    There are NO words that can describe this lady

    July 20, 2010 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    "A Republican congress from 94 to 06 grew this country like never before... only took the DEMS 4 years to jack it all up"

    Moron. So the 6 years in between never took place? The tax cuts for th erich never took place? 6 years of abysmal regulatory oversight while Wall Street lit the living room carpet ablaze never took place? 6 years of BORROWING to fund 2 wars so that the spending could be hidden with accounting tricks never took place? 2 years of the GOP and Bush setting records for filibustering and vetoing everything and anything the Dems tried to do to prevent the catastrophe never took place after those 6 years? You seriously need to just stfu.

    July 20, 2010 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  9. Sniffit

    "She is a bright light in a dark room."

    Dude...that woman is the dimmest bulb in the Sylvania plant...hands down.

    July 20, 2010 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  10. charlie from the North

    Let's see. A Tea-Party hmm. Who to invite?? Well you should have a Mad Hatter (there are a lot of mad ones out there who would like this tea party). A March Hare is a must, too bad Newt is not available he would be perfect for that part. A door-mouse? That's a though one they are all so "out-going". Michelle would be an excellent "Queen of Hearts" I can hear her now: "Voted for un-employment extension? Off with their heads" "Abortion in case of rape , Off with their heads" "Concerned about global warming? Off with their heads". Yeah this tea=party is a real treat.

    July 20, 2010 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  11. Chuck Anaheim, Ca

    Who's in who's out? Who cares!!!

    July 20, 2010 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  12. Dave

    They call her Crazy Shelley for a reason.

    July 20, 2010 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  13. Sniffit

    "Kool-Aid! Get your Kool-Aid right over here!"

    it ain't kool-aid with these Teatards...it's pure bile.

    July 20, 2010 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |

    It's nice of this fruit cake to give us a hit list of who not to vote for in November. It will be interesting to see if there even is a Tea Party Caucus after November. No matter what they claim as the reason it's pretty interesting and telling that the 2 top repugs in the house will not join, guess they're not quite as dumb as I thought they were.

    Vote NO in NOvember to the party of NO, especially these jokers.

    July 20, 2010 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  15. Anne P

    Ooooh....such venom fromt he neocons! Bachman is laughable and and worse, a big liar. Our conservative friends still can't offer solutions for anything; just empty rants and emotion. That doesn't get things done, folks. Afterall, how should we pay for your tax reductions to the wealthy and the two wars? Were they suppose to come at no cost. What, trickle down economics didn't work? Go ahead and divert the blame to Obama. Most sane folks can connect the dots however. Fear mongering is no longer effective; you'll need real & better solutions to beat the Dems. Get over it; you're hosed.

    July 20, 2010 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  16. Cody

    Thanks for editing out the Senate roll call vote on unemployment. Keep on printing sensationalist nonsense, like this story. Maybe someday you can learn to be journalists.

    July 20, 2010 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  17. Clownboy in Austin

    She should be placed for adoption at the SPCA.

    July 20, 2010 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  18. CTYank

    Just further evidence of her delusions- "her caucus will become bipartisan." With her type of pusillanimous pinheaded partisanship? Like folks don't see the Armey and Koch string-pulling?
    Where were these folks in the Bush/Cheney years? What are they FOR?

    July 20, 2010 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  19. Naqib

    You can see it coming..

    Bye Dems...

    Took you four years to wreck 12 years of growth...

    Once again you pulled a luckey Carter 4... but this admin is one and done... and those of us who work and pay 90% of the bill are smiling about it

    July 20, 2010 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  20. kd

    These kooks can only win in beyond-extreme conservative districts. And only those kooks in those districts will join this nutjob caucus.

    July 20, 2010 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  21. redpens

    What I call loony is Nancy Pelosi saying that unemployment benefits are the fastest way to create jobs. Michele has more passion and love for this country than all Democrats put together. Tarryl Clark would be another big government Obama/Pelosi clone.

    July 20, 2010 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  22. Craig from Pa.

    Ha!! Thanks,....I needed a good laugh today....

    July 20, 2010 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  23. Matt

    AV1, You're comment seems to indicate that you think it was "Libs" who created the 13 billion dollar national debt. I would just like to remind you that when George Bush took office, it was 6 billion, when he left it was 12 billion. Get off of your high horse, both parties will find ways to bankrupt this country, it's just on different things (unfunded tax cuts and un-ending wars of choice, or unsustainable entitlement programs) take your pick.

    I think we should just call this new Caucus what it is, the Fox News caucus, with Glenn Beck as the spokesman. If any of you "independent Tea Party" types really think that Michelle Bachmann is going to lead you to victory, you have another thing coming. That woman is bat $*!T insane without a single cogent thought running through her head.

    I will however (just as the Democratic leadership did) back the creation of this caucus as it might finally allow the Republican party to return to sanity, culling the crazies from its ranks.

    July 20, 2010 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  24. jane

    Where were the tea bags when Bush was gutting our treasury and bringing ut to the brink of global economic catastrophy? They are pawns of the very wealthy and don't even know it.

    July 20, 2010 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  25. chutchin

    Wow, AVI...you are an idiot.

    July 20, 2010 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
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