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. lynn

    I don't think any Democrats are going to attend these foolish meetings.

    July 20, 2010 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  2. Snoop

    First of all, you really should stop calling people "teabaggers". That describes a particular sexual act.

    Second of all, get some clue about what the Tea Party stuff is all about. It is not racist, it does not hate poor people, and it is not full of crazies.

    Are there nutjobs in it? Sure. Are there nutjobs in every other organization in the world? You better believe it.

    So, please – when you start yapping about people throwing around hatred and vitriol – look at yourself first, because every time you call the Tea Party members racist, hateful, or call them ugly names, you're doing the exact same thing that you are attributing to them.

    July 20, 2010 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  3. Len Smith

    This woman isn't worth a new item. She out to ruin this country.

    July 20, 2010 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  4. ThinkAgain

    Bachmann said, ""We're not about any political party."

    Yeah, right! The teabaggers were founded and are funded by Roger Ailes, with guidance from Karl Rove. They're totally Republican all the way – the Party of No to everything and only tried-and-failed policies to offer the American people.

    Teabaggers and the GOP want our President and our country to fail so Republicans can get back into power – and do what?

    The same-old, same-old nonsensical economic, military and foreign policies that were dragging our country down the toilet under Bush/Cheney.


    July 20, 2010 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  5. Jilli

    Wait – what's that sound? It's the stampede of moderates and independents, running away from these something for nothing – know nothing clowns.

    July 20, 2010 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  6. jim

    well ... per the politifact website, michelle bachmann has yet to utter even a barely true statement.

    July 20, 2010 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  7. EBC

    This woman is an IDIOT. Who buys her trash-talking garbage?

    July 20, 2010 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  8. rositaCA

    Allow the LOOSERS to get together. This woman is a coockoo! as all of her followers.

    July 20, 2010 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  9. ThinkAgain

    Backmann is dumb, good-looking in a wicked step-sister kind of way, doesn't have a clue as to what freedom is for anyone outside her own circle of fellow nutjobs and is completely naive about the proven ill effects of un-regulated free market capitalism.

    Obviously, she's a Conservative.

    July 20, 2010 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  10. Patrick

    Good. These wingnuts get to self identify.

    July 20, 2010 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  11. redpens

    I didn't like Bush and the Republicans spending spree either. Sorry Charlie, man made global warming is a lie. If the oceans are rising, why did Al Gore buy a mansion on the beach? Wouldn't it soon be underwater if man made global warming were true? Stephen, two words for you. Al Franken. Now there's a nutcase. But you idiot liberals will call anyone a racist if they disagree w/ you or Obama. You're sheep that blindly follow a President and Congress into the abyss. I know of a true racist, his name is Jeremiah Wright.

    July 20, 2010 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  12. Florida Joe

    We have to hope that the good folks of Minn will wake up and get rid of this nutcase.............She needs to take her tea bags and GO HOME

    July 20, 2010 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  13. bbrooker

    Yep, thanks Bachman for firing up the Democratic base! You are truly a gift to your opposition!

    July 20, 2010 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |


    July 20, 2010 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  15. JR

    Ahhh, it's called "Putting all your nuts in one basket"

    July 20, 2010 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  16. vernis robertson

    Michele and Sarah Palin are sisters. Both nut Jobs.

    July 20, 2010 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  17. Larry

    Who's in, Who's out, WHO CARES

    A bunch of self centered, racist, bigoted Party Of No, Republicans

    Like this "caucus" has any meaning, I think not

    About as useful as a wart

    July 20, 2010 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  18. Victim of GOP Taliban

    Just as long as they force McConnell, Murokowski and Vitter out...then replace them with the far right Puritan fundamentalists that want to return to the 1800's again back with the Republicans were once good.

    July 20, 2010 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  19. Lucas Breen

    If these people really are for lower taxes, they should thank President Obama for the largest tax cut in history.

    July 20, 2010 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  20. John

    Let's see...she is so called smart, good looking front doll, the cause of stupidity, crooked capitalism and everything that is wrong with America. Obviously, she is a conservative wacko!

    God Save America!

    July 20, 2010 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  21. Get Real

    This political 'group' (term loosely used) is a joke..and not a funny one. They are nothing more then a political fringe full of hypocritical rhetoric and lacks real substance and respectable leaders (Sarah Palin??? Really that's your headliner???). There base are made up people I wouldn't want watch after my neighbor's dog, let alone having an impact on any policies for the country. Granting them more undeserved media coverage will only bring out more crazies from the woodworks.

    July 20, 2010 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  22. jodipo

    As a Minnesota, I am proud to say MB is a looney toon. The fact that this woman is a "tea party favorite" speaks volumes as to who those people are. Michelle Bachmann is a small minded, hate spewing bigot, and anyone who looks up to that woman is the same.

    July 20, 2010 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  23. Harley

    Michelle Bachmann makes me even prouder to be a Liberal! We can only hope that their "tea" at their "partys" is served up Jone's Town style.

    July 20, 2010 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  24. Paul

    They tore down our economy; they did not respond effectively to Katrina, 9/11 red flags. they (the GOP) allowed Wall Street and the wealthy to be rewarded while millions of Americans lost their homes,and jobs,
    The GOP and President Bush engaged our nation in two undending wars in both Irak and Afghanistan; they pick on latinos as their scape goat to distract people's attention for their mess, and if anyone disagrees with their racist/selfish policies, they do not hesistate to accusse them of being evil using the old fashioned scare tactics, they are the party of NO, the party of fear no reason, the one that discriminates against minorities.

    July 20, 2010 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  25. TOM

    you people need to get a life. Why would anyone have a problem with this idea. We have a black caucasand hispanic caucas and nobody has a problem with that but you do with a caucas to cut spending and lower taxes. what a joke . do any of you people have jobs/pay taxes? I would really love to know. and if you do and love paying taxes. please let me know so you can pay mine. I sure pay enough for other people maybe someone should pay my taxes.

    July 20, 2010 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
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