July 21st, 2010
12:07 PM ET
13 years ago

New caucus says it won't vouch for Tea Party

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/07/21/art.bachmann.0320p.cnn.jpg caption ="Rep. Michele Bachmann is a member of a newly formed Tea Party coalition in Congress."] Washington (CNN) - The founder of a new Tea Party caucus in the House of Representatives says her group's main mission is to listen to Tea Party activists concerns, but not to serve as a mouthpiece for the movement or to vouch for actions by Tea Party members.

"We decided to form a Tea Party caucus for one very important purpose: To listen to the concerns of the Tea Party," said Rep. Michele Bachmann, at a news conference Wednesday morning following the first meeting of the caucus.

"We are not the mouthpiece of the Tea Party. We are not taking the Tea Party and controlling it from Washington DC. I am not the head of the Tea Party."

"We are also not here to vouch for the Tea Party, or to vouch for any Tea Party organizations or vouch for any individual people or actions or billboards or signs or anything of the Tea Party. We are here to listen and to be a receptacle."

Bachmann said 24 representatives attended the first meeting. Twenty-eight Republican members of the House are listed as members of the caucus (see list below), including two high ranking members of the GOP House leadership, Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence and National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Pete Sessions.

Pence, a five term congressman from Indiana who may make a bid for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination, told CNN Monday that "having spoken at the September 12th 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."

Sessions, a seven term representative from Texas, Monday described 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 told CNN on Monday, adding she doesn't feel Cantor is rejecting the caucus either.

Bachmann, a 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.

"We want to have a bigger earphone to listen to the people. We may possible meet next week," Bachmann told reporters. "Our goal is to continue an on-going dialogue, in real time."

Bachman added that she is renewing a call for allowance of House members to use Skype in their offices, which is currently banned. Bachmann said the online communication service would make it easier to talk with constituents and vice-versa.

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," Bachmann told CNN.

CNN's Evan Glass, Jim Acosta, and Bonney Kapp contributed to this story

Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn


Michelle Bachman of Minnesota (founder of the caucus)
Todd Akin of Missouri
Roscoe Bartlett of Maryland
Joe Barton of Texas
Gus Bilirakis of Florida
Paul Broun of Georgia
Michael Burgess of Texas
Dan Burton of Indiana
John Carter of Texas (Republican Conference secretary)
John Culberson of Texas
John Fleming of Louisiana
Trent Franks of Arizona
Phil Gingrey of Georgia
Louie Gohmert of Texas
Peter Hoekstra of Michigan
Walter Jones of North Carolina
Steve King of Iowa
Doug Lamborn of Colorado
Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming
Gary Miller of California
Gerry Moran of Kansas
Mike Pence of Indiana (Republican Conference chairman)
Tom Price of Georgia
Pete Sessions of Texas (National Republican Congressional Committee chairman)
Lamar Smith of Texas
Cliff Stearns of Florida
Todd Tiahrt of Kansas
Joe Wilson of South Carolina

Filed under: GOP • House • Michele Bachmann • Popular Posts • Tea Party movement
soundoff (119 Responses)
  1. lstro

    The truth is the GOP is forming a caucus because they don't necessarily agree with your views but by forming a causcus it gives the impression they care but in reality the only thing they really care about is your vote. The GOP can sure play the game, can't they.

    July 21, 2010 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  2. grrace

    But, Bachman IS THE 'teaparty' mouth piece. Remember that big fat megaphone at that teaparty rally? The rally she put together on the lawn? Remember the teaparty banner she flung from the balcony? Who are you kidding Bachman? Remember the signs that showed piled-up victims of the Holocaust you paraded around? Really, who do you think you are kidding?

    July 21, 2010 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  3. mike

    another words good old Bachman wants the tea party vote but doesn't want to have anything to do with what every they may say or do in public that is a great leader and these uneducated idiots are going to go with it
    because they pull the purse strings why don't they just say they are republicans and call it a day, end of story and atop telling people they are independent

    July 21, 2010 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  4. illinois nurse

    PALIN/BACHMANN 2012! 1 2 3 , Go cool aid drinkers.........

    July 21, 2010 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  5. grrace

    BTW, thanks for the list of who to NOT vote for.

    July 21, 2010 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |

    "....We are here to listen and to be a receptacle."

    Another word for receptacle is trashcan. It is nice to list a list of people to absolutely not vote for though. These right wing wacos are determined to bring down America with their twisted thoughts and outright lies. Don't be fooled for one moment, these people are using you.

    Vote NO in NOvember to the party of NO.

    July 21, 2010 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  7. wootdude

    ""Leader Boehner doesn't join any caucus other than the Republican Conference. That's his rule so that's certainly no repudiation," Bachmann told CNN on Monday, adding she doesn't feel Cantor is rejecting the caucus either."
    Doesn't she mean refudiation?

    July 21, 2010 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  8. Rusty

    Jump on the BANDWAGON! Bachman is a loon.

    July 21, 2010 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  9. MAhole

    Tea-Tards are ALL Tea-Tards – no matter how they want to represent themselves.

    All hot air and no solutions.........

    July 21, 2010 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  10. Jonathan

    Well, any caucus that brings together Michelle Bachmann, Joe Wilson, and Joe Barton....

    July 21, 2010 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  11. Liz the First

    What a perfect representative of the teabaggers!!! Bachmann is the worst of the worst in the House today. this woman is as bat-crap-crazy as it comes so of course, she'd lead the bat-crap-crazy party or movement or whatever the blazes they call themselves.

    July 21, 2010 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  12. tw

    I think Rep. Bachmann misspoke when she said she understood Rep. Boehner's reluctance to join the Tea Party caucus. She described his decision as "certainly no repudiation" against the Tea Party. I'm certain she mean to say "refudiate." On second thought, I missunderspoke, I think she meant to say "refudiation."

    July 21, 2010 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  13. MsDp

    I wonder who made her tell this lie? When will the GOP/Teabaggers learn that all Americans are not idiots? Remember the truth will set you and the rest of the world free.

    July 21, 2010 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  14. Emerson

    "We decided to form a Tea Party caucus for one very important purpose: To listen to the concerns of the Tea Party," said Rep. Michele Bachmann.

    Translation: I want to glom the most publicity I can from this faux grass roots movement, but I want to be be able to throw it under the bus in case the majority of American people figure out by Novemeber which of the two major political parites has been acting in its best intererst and which one is the toady of special interests.

    July 21, 2010 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  15. Tony D.

    Glad that none of the Republican reps from NJ joined this whacko group. Just knowing that Bachman is the leader makes me skeptical. She's one of the whackiest in the Senate.

    July 21, 2010 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  16. Stuart Parker

    SO let's get this straight:

    The Tea Party caucus will accept any and all help and endorsements from the Tea Party organizations but will not take responsibility for anything the Tea Partiers do.


    Another fine example of that great conservative doctrine of accountability and personal responsibility.

    July 21, 2010 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  17. Barack.Hussein.Obama-America's-Incompetent-DICTATOR

    I wish they would rename this movement to the "Constitution Party". But either way, this is a good thing. Any politician that can't line up behind the Constitution as written deserves to be voted out. The Founding Fathers wanted LIMITED federal government, not omnipotent federal government controlling every aspect of our lives.

    When Obozocare FORCED people to buy a product or be taxed, then millions became painfully aware of how out of control the federal government really is.

    July 21, 2010 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  18. Larry

    What a meaningless collection of racist people

    The caucus is a joke

    The Tea Party is a joke

    Bachman is a joke

    July 21, 2010 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  19. Shucks

    So in otherwords they will endorse some of the tea party ideas, and denounce those that may make them look bad, like all of the racism in the party. Like I've said numerous times to friends. Democrats think the glass is half full, while republicans think it is theirs. You can't have it both ways folks, just when it is convenient.

    July 21, 2010 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  20. cjr

    Now we know who the racists in the House are!! No to the party of No!

    July 21, 2010 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  21. Lucas Breen

    Thanks for providing Americans a list of who they should not be supporting this fall. These people have done nothing for this country. Their public service consists of getting a paycheck and voting in lock step with the right wing Republican think tanks.

    Rep. Bachmann says that this Do Nothing Caucus will not be a mouthpiece for the Know Nothing Tea Party. That sounds about right, since neither as anything to say.

    July 21, 2010 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  22. Tori in Texas

    "We decided to form a Tea Party caucus for one very important purpose: To listen to the concerns of the Tea Party,"

    Isn't that why y'all were elected in the first place? To listen to ALL your constituents?

    I'm so glad you provided this list so we know who the self identified tea bag ers are.

    Thanks Michelle!

    July 21, 2010 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  23. Robert M. Smith, MD, PhD.

    I thought your jobs required that you represent ALL of your constituents, not pay special attention to tea party "activists". Every name on that list should be targeted for replacement. I notice the last name on the list is Joe Wilson, the loud mouth coward who called the President of the United Stated a liar in the halls of Congress. The only people lower than he are those who supported his hateful, unAmerican behavior. He and the entire list are more concerned about being re-elected than they are about doing their jobs. All of you are despicable liars and traitors for selling out your responsibility to represent ALL Americans and not your own interests. We didn't elect you people to go to Washington and vote your beliefs. We elected you to go to Washington and vote our beliefs. That's what "represent" means. I, for one, am sick of all this "conservative" crap. The "conservative" crowd is for big money and business and screw everybody else. It's not conservative vs liberal. That's a farce. It's the "HAVES" vs the "HAVENOTS". You can guess which group these sickening clowns belong to.

    July 21, 2010 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  24. Gary George

    The Tea Party should become a political party as the Green Party. They should have their own political platform and candidates. They are only tagged to the Republican Party so they can have a legitimate voice. They have found a method to cause change within our political process and we the people of the USA are allowing them the opportunity. If they want to get serious become a real Political Party. If there are Republicans or Democrats that want to follow the Tea Party agenda then leave your present party and join the Tea Party. Then we will see how committed one is to their views when one will not have the support of the Democratic or Republican Party as you back-up plan.

    July 21, 2010 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  25. ART

    Really Michelle you could of fooled me, so if you are not the supreme or grand wizard of the Tea baggers what post do you hold?

    July 21, 2010 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
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