Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann to start Tea Party caucus in House

Alex Pappas Political Reporter
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Grassroots favorite Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota plans to form a Tea Party caucus in the House.

“The House Tea Party Caucus will serve as an informal group of members dedicated to promote Americans’ call for fiscal responsibility, adherence to the Constitution and limited government,” Bachmann wrote in a Thursday letter to Rep. Robert Brady, chairman of the Committee on House Administration.

Bachmann said she plans to serve as the chairwoman of the caucus. Her communication director, Dave Dziok, said in an interview that the congresswoman was alone in forming the idea for the caucus, and that she will reach out to other members to join once the group is approved by House administration.

And Republicans aren’t the only ones welcome to sign up for the caucus, he said. “It’s absolutely open to every member, regardless of party,” Dziok said.

He said he foresees the caucus meeting weekly to talk about Tea Party principles. Dziok said Bachmann has received calls from several members expressing interest in joining, but he declined to name specifically which ones.

Republican members of Congress, contacted by The Daily Caller, who have been active Tea Partiers are waiting to see if the House administration approves the caucus before saying for sure if they will join it.

“This is just early in the process,” said Claude Chafin, a spokesman for Tennessee Rep. Marsha Blackburn, who has participated in a number of Tea Party events. “Generally a caucus gets approved and starts to build members, then it gets announced. Since we have not heard from Bachmann’s office, nor has Marsha talked to her, I just don’t have the details I need to see if she wants to join.”

As for South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson, press secretary Pepper Pennington said once the caucus “is approved by the Committee on House Administration, Congressman Wilson will consider joining.”

Rep. Steve King — who has been involved in the Tea Party movement — would “definitely” be interested in joining the caucus, according to spokesman John Kennedy. “I think he would be the first to commend Representative Bachmann for the effort,” he said.

And how are Tea Party activists reacting to the caucus? Mark Meckler, a leader of the Tea Party Patriots organization, was favorable to the idea. “Any time there are folks out there aligning themselves with Tea Party values… I think that’s a good thing,” he said.

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