Newly inaugurated Florida Senator Marco Rubio is questioning the need for a Senate Tea Party Caucus, and is unsure he will join.
”Why do we need something in addition to the steering committee? … My concern is that politicians all of a sudden start co-opting the mantle of ‘Tea Party,’” Rubio told the Florida political blog Shark Tank. “If all of a sudden being in the Tea Party is not something that is happening in Main Street, but rather something that’s happening in Washington, D.C., the ‘Tea Party’ all of a sudden becomes some sort of movement run by politicians … it’s gonna lose its effectiveness and I’m concerned about that. I think that the real power of the Tea Party comes from its ability to drive the debate and the issues from the grassroots up, as opposed to from the politicians down.”
Rubio spokesman Alex Burgos says the Florida Republican and Tea Party favorite has not yet made up his mind on whether to join the newly formed caucus. “He’s proud of his relationship with the Tea Party movement,” Burgos said to the Miami Herald. “”He shares with the movement a commitment to tackling debt, defending the free enterprise system and restoring our limited government tradition. It’s the same case with other causes that have been brought to our attention, he hasn’t made any decision one way or the other.”
It’s not the first time Rubio has declined to say whether or not he will join the group. “Well I don’t know what the need for that [Tea Party caucus] would be, obviously, maybe they feel there is a need for that, or others feel there is a need for that,” he told CNN last year.
Republican Senators Rand Paul, Mike Lee and Jim DeMint have all said that they will be joining the Senate Tea Party Caucus.