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. Bill

    @ Ken in NC:

    It would appear that you sir are the IDIOT or you are legally blind. In the evwent you had not noticed Ms. Michelle Bachmann is aCongreswoman not a Congerssman.

    July 20, 2010 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  2. ccm123

    Let me guess who the big entry is. Either Sarah or Rush. I hope people are waking up and realizing what these people are and who is in bed with them.

    July 20, 2010 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  3. Ann in Ohio

    She is a bright light alright...a flaming idiot.....

    July 20, 2010 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  4. Bob, Virginia

    Bachmann will have plenty of time to run her little caucus when the good people of Minn throw her nutbag butt out in November.

    July 20, 2010 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  5. P

    I am so glad I'm a liberal.

    July 20, 2010 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  6. ME

    Tea party, huh? Will the Mad Hatter be invited? He seems like just the sort for this bunch.

    July 20, 2010 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  7. Matt

    Also, @ Liberals are poison (cute name BTW). I think you have some serious projection going on here. I didn't see a single poster of Bush as the Joker. At any rate what you're trying to do is justify bad behavior with other bad behavior and that's a logical and philosophical no-no. Your lame name calling at every possible opportunity also points to you being very childish and immature, PERFECT for the Tea Party! Angry, white and intellectually bankrupt. There are perfectly good reasons to be angry, but sadly you've fallen for this garbage and are allowing yourself to be manipulated.

    Your comment about the Tea Party being multi-ethnic is an absolute joke. Every single rally I've seen looks like it might as well be a KKK rally. The ethnic makeup of the movement is hardly representative of the country as a whole.

    July 20, 2010 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  8. Jon Torok

    Shouldn't you be conservative first? Bachmann sure isn't.

    July 20, 2010 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  9. Nick , California

    I hope the Republicans win the house... it would finally force them to work and actually find solutions instead of playing the sport of politics by saying "no" or mouthing off Fox News talking points! Too bad I haven't seen one useful proposal from any Republican since President Obama was elected.

    July 20, 2010 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  10. Shannon

    This horrible woman is against everything our constitution stands for. She encourages Americans to break the law, she says that Americans don't have to pay taxes if they disagree with the health care bill, she encouraged Americans not to fill out their census, she makes horrible racist remarks. She is completely insane!

    July 20, 2010 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  11. leanderjim

    Albo58, sigh, this is why tea partiers are racists.........you just neatly slipped in two racial stereotypes in your comment. But, I know, you are not a racist.........wouldn't dream of it, now would you?

    July 20, 2010 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  12. chutchin

    Hey, Liberals are Poison, I think your moronic words speak enough for you already. Contrary to what your small and highly uninformed mind thinks, there are many democrats that have a NORMAL job-who would have thought that? Taxed Enough Already? I am sick of hearing that crap-it's a made up myth with no basis in fact. Taxes are LOWER than they have been for 40 years. Try to do a little research-nimrod.

    July 20, 2010 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  13. Brian

    I read most of these posts with amusement regarding those who chime in while hating Democrats. At the same time, i am concerned that these people simply repeat fallacies as though they were facts. Naqib declares that the republican congress led to unparalleled growth in the late 90s. By what standard is unparalleled growth measured? Statistics will establish that is in not by GNP %, Average Income, average net worth, international trade or national deficit. There is not a single economic index that illustrates growth by the US from 1994 to 2006. I am a lifelong Republican. And I am ashamed to even mention that allegiance when reading blog posts such as the many misinformed rants that popped up in this topic.

    July 20, 2010 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  14. Wisconsinite


    Hey thanks for proving our point . . . .you TeaPee-ers really ARE racists!

    July 20, 2010 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  15. Robert

    No, "AV1," Ms. Bachmann is NOT "a bright light in a dark room." She's the ultimate dim bulb. It is shocking that someone like her could get elected. What are they drinking in Minnesota?

    July 20, 2010 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  16. JonDie

    Tea Party = Ship of Fools

    July 20, 2010 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  17. MW

    To Albo58,,,, You are a ignorant bigot. Let's take a look at who really is looking for a government handout.... Big Oil, Big Banks, Big Bigots like you.

    July 20, 2010 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  18. whatnext

    Naqib wrote "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" Of the 200 million people 19 and over, registered democrats outnumber republicans 72 to 55 million. You claim Obama put everybody out of a job, but you're all working, and carrying the other 255 million? You're taking too many meds. Again.

    July 20, 2010 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  19. GOP=PIG

    This is fun to watch because this idiot and the other tea drinkers are doing more for the Dems than anyone could have hoped. THANK YOU! The conservatards are getting exactly what they deserve for spreading/believeing all of the lies and misinformation out there. Pathetic!

    MB is also the new poster child of Ignorance and Devolution. (look it up)

    July 20, 2010 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  20. CR

    Michele Bachmann and Republicans like her are the reason people are leaving the party in droves. No thanks.

    July 20, 2010 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  21. Chloe in Chatsworth, CA

    Any Republican who doesn't join is a RINO and should be, as Sharron Angle so eloquently puts it, "taken out."

    July 20, 2010 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  22. Rightwingevangelicalconservatism is a disease

    These sick and twisted right wingers are so sure about their victory in November and they have history on their side, but if you look at triangle of stupid i.e. Bachman, Angle, Palin I think it's them who might be in for a rude awakening.

    July 20, 2010 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  23. Debby

    I am not surprised at the liberal responses about this. When Hillary was running for President she got the same response from her own party. I don't think the liberals know exactly what they want out of a President. If they did they would see Obama is getting us in a sink hole of debt.

    July 20, 2010 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  24. Drew, FL

    Step on up and get your mug o' insanitea.

    July 20, 2010 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  25. Cynthia

    Liberals on this blog are so hypocritical. You all called Bush, Condi, and the rest of the administration so many derogatory and unsavory names it blows my mind that you all seemed to have forgotten or just simply believe that you never said or thought it. And you continue to disparage other conservatives like Palin and Rush and many others. But if I were to say Rachael Madcow you all blow up..or if I were to say anything about the liar of a president that we have I would be entirely wrong. So if anyone on this blog that is a liberal and wants to tell people to stop with the name calling perhaps reign in your folks then preach to the masses

    There is nothing wrong with this caucus, just because many of you are very uniformed and choose to take your news for face value is your problem. Actually it is mine too, but I can't make you research for facts. See the problem is our partisan media has turned its eye on providing facts and instead presents us with what they want us to hear so now we have to rely on ourselves to find the truth..what a concept!!!

    I would prefer to see more caucuses. Why not there are so many people in this country that have varying perspectives on an array of issues let's make sure everyone is actually heard and not just a few groups.

    July 20, 2010 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
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