Tea Party Caucus
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The Tea Party Caucus was a congressional caucus of the United States House of Representatives and Senate first launched and chaired by Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann on July 16, 2010. The caucus was dedicated to promoting what it considered fiscal responsibility, adherence to the movement's interpretation of the Constitution and limited government. The idea of a Tea Party Caucus originated from Kentucky Senator Rand Paul when he was campaigning for his current seat.
The caucus was approved as an official congressional member organization by the House Administration Committee on July 19, 2010 and held its first meeting on July 21. Its first public event was a press conference on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol, also on July 21. Four Senators joined the caucus on January 27, 2011.
- 1 Relation to the Tea Party movement
- 2 Relation to the Republican Party
- 3 Political donations
- 4 Decline and potential revival
- 5 Past members, 112th and 113th Congresses
- 6 Past members of the Senate Caucus
- 7 Past member organizations
- 8 Former members
- 9 See also
- 10 References
- 11 External links
Relation to the Tea Party movement
An article in Politico stated that many Tea Party activists see the caucus as an effort by the Republican Party to hijack the movement. Utah congressman Jason Chaffetz refused to join the caucus, saying "Structure and formality are the exact opposite of what the Tea Party is, and if there is an attempt to put structure and formality around it, or to co-opt it by Washington, D.C., it’s going to take away from the free-flowing nature of the true tea party movement."
In an attempt to quell fears that Washington insiders were attempting to co-opt the Tea Party movement, Rep Michele Bachmann stated "We're not the mouthpiece. We are not taking the Tea Party and controlling it from Washington, D.C. We are also not here to vouch for the Tea Party or to vouch for any Tea Party organizations or to vouch for any individual people or actions, or billboards or signs or anything of the Tea Party. We are the receptacle." 
Additionally, Senators Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Marco Rubio of Florida, all Tea Party supporters, refused to join the caucus. Toomey said he would be "open" to joining, and spoke at the first meeting, but did not ultimately join. Johnson said that he declined to join because he wanted to "work towards a unified Republican Conference, so that's where I will put my energy." Rubio criticized the caucus, saying "My fear has always been that if you start creating these little clubs or organizations in Washington run by politicians, the movement starts to lose its energy."
Relation to the Republican Party
All 66 former members of the Tea Party Caucus are members of the Republican Party. Three of them are part of the Republican leadership. Thomas E. Price serves as chairman of the Republican Policy Committee, making him the seventh ranking Republican in the House, John R. Carter is the Secretary of the House Republican Conference, ranking him the ninth ranking Republican, and Pete Sessions is the number six Republican as the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee. Other former members of the Tea Party Caucus hold committee chairmanships such as Rep. Lamar S. Smith, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the top contributors to the Tea Party caucus members are health professionals, retirees, the real estate industry and oil and gas interests. The Center said the contributions to caucus members from these groups, plus those from Republican and conservative groups, are on average higher than those of House members in general and also those of other Republicans. The average Tea Party caucus member received more than $25,000 from the oil and gas industry, compared to about $13,000 for the average House member and $21,500 for the average House Republican.
Decline and potential revival
From July 2012 to April 2013 the Tea Party Caucus neither met nor posted news on its webpage, leading observers to describe it as "dead," "inactive," and "defunct." In April 2013, Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina filed paperwork to create a new Tea Party Caucus, but found that Michele Bachmann intended to continue the caucus, starting with an event on April 25.
Past members, 112th and 113th Congresses
- Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, Chair
- Joe Barton of Texas
- Gus Bilirakis of Florida
- Rob Bishop of Utah
- Diane Black of Tennessee
- Michael C. Burgess of Texas
- Paul Broun of Georgia
- John Carter of Texas
- Bill Cassidy of Louisiana
- Howard Coble of North Carolina
- Mike Coffman of Colorado
- Ander Crenshaw of Florida
- John Culberson of Texas
- Jeff Duncan of South Carolina
- Blake Farenthold of Texas
- Stephen Fincher of Tennessee
- John Fleming of Louisiana
- Trent Franks of Arizona
- Phil Gingrey of Georgia
- Louie Gohmert of Texas
- Vicky Hartzler of Missouri
- Tim Huelskamp of Kansas
- Lynn Jenkins of Kansas
- Steve King of Iowa
- Doug Lamborn of Colorado
- Blaine Luetkemeyer of Missouri
- Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming
- Kenny Marchant of Texas
- Tom McClintock of California
- David McKinley of West Virginia
- Gary Miller of California
- Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina
- Randy Neugebauer of Texas
- Rich Nugent of Florida
- Steven Palazzo of Mississippi
- Steve Pearce of New Mexico
- Ted Poe of Texas
- Tom Price of Georgia
- Phil Roe of Tennessee
- Dennis A. Ross of Florida
- Ed Royce of California
- Steve Scalise of Louisiana
- David Schweikert of Arizona
- Pete Sessions of Texas
- Adrian Smith of Nebraska
- Lamar S. Smith of Texas
- Marlin Stutzman of Indiana
- Tim Walberg of Michigan
- Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia
- Joe Wilson of South Carolina
Past members of the Senate Caucus
- Mike Lee (Utah)
- Jerry Moran (Kansas)
- Rand Paul (Kentucky)
- Tim Scott (South Carolina)
- Ted Cruz (Texas)
- Ron Johnson (Wisconsin)
- Marco Rubio (Florida)
- Mike Enzi (Wyoming)
- John Cornyn (Texas)
- John McCain (Arizona)
- Roy Blunt (Missouri)
- Mitch McConnell (Kentucky)
- Jeff Sessions (Alabama)
- Jim Risch (Idaho)
- Pat Toomey (Pennsylvania)
Past member organizations
- Tea Party Express
- Americans for Tax Reform
- Republican Liberty Caucus
- Virginia Federation of Tea Party Patriots
- Americans for Prosperity
- Republican Jewish Coalition
- National Taxpayers Union
- U.S. Chamber of Commerce
- Young Americans for Liberty
- Campaign for Liberty
- 60 Plus Association
Still in the U.S. House
Resigned from U.S. Senate
Resigned from U.S. House
- Rodney Alexander of Louisiana - Resigned from the House in September 2013 to become Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs
- Todd Akin - Ran unsuccessfully for the United States Senate election in Missouri, 2012
- Dan Burton
- Wally Herger
- Sue Myrick
- Mike Pence - Ran successfully for the Indiana gubernatorial election, 2012
- Denny Rehberg - Ran unsuccessfully for the United States Senate election in Montana, 2012
- Roscoe Bartlett
- Sandy Adams - Lost renomination
- Jeff Landry - Lost renomination
- Cliff Stearns - Lost renomination
- Joe Walsh
- Allen West
- Pete Hoekstra - Ran unsuccessfully for the nomination for the Michigan gubernatorial election, 2010
- John Shadegg
- Todd Tiahrt - Ran unsuccessfully for the nomination for the United States Senate election in Kansas, 2010
- Zach Wamp - Ran unsuccessfully for the nomination for the Tennessee gubernatorial election, 2010
- Parker Griffith - Lost renomination
- Sherman, Jake (July 16, 2010). "Bachmann forms Tea Party Caucus". Politico. Retrieved August 4, 2010.
- Pappas, Alex (July 22, 2010). "Congressional Tea Party Caucus receives mixed reviews from Tea Party activists". The Daily Caller. Retrieved August 4, 2010.
- Condon, Stephanie (July 19, 2010). "Bachmann's Tea Party Caucus Approved". CBS News. Retrieved August 4, 2010.
- Zdechlik, Mark (July 21, 2010). "Bachmann gathers Tea Party Caucus for first time". Minnesota Public Radio. Retrieved August 4, 2010.
- HERSZENHORN, DAVID M. (January 27, 2011). "Senate Tea Party Caucus Holds First Meeting". New York Times.
- Vogel, Kenneth P. (August 2, 2010). "Tea party vs. Tea Party Caucus". Politico. Retrieved September 13, 2010.
- Janie Lorber (July 21, 2010). "Tea Party Caucus Tackles Racism Charge". NY Times.
- Lorber, Janie (July 21, 2010). "Republicans Form Caucus for Tea Party in the House". The New York Times. Retrieved September 13, 2010.
- Rucker, Philip (January 28, 2011). "Senate Tea Party Caucus holds first meeting without some who had embraced banner". Washington Post. Retrieved February 21, 2011.
- "Why senators are avoiding the Tea Party Caucus". Christian Science Monitor. January 28, 2011. Retrieved February 21, 2011.
- "Pat Toomey Supports Tea Party Caucus but won't Join it". Nothington Post. January 31, 2011. Retrieved February 21, 2011.
- "Ron Johnson: of the Tea Party, but not the Tea Party Caucus". JS Online. January 28, 2011. Retrieved February 21, 2011.
- Siegel, Elyse (February 7, 2011). "Marco Rubio Shows Little Love For Tea Party Caucus (AUDIO)". Huffington Post. Retrieved February 21, 2011.
- Drake, Bruce (August 1, 2010). "The New House Tea Party Caucus: Where Its Members Get Campaign Cash". Politics Daily. Retrieved August 5, 2010.
- Weigel, Dave (20 March 2013). "The Tea Party Caucus is Dead and That's OK". Slate. Retrieved 25 April 2013.
- Newhauser, Daniel (20 March 2013). "What Happened to the Tea Party Caucus?". Roll Call. Retrieved 25 April 2013.
- Strong, Jonathan (24 April 2013). "Tea Party Caucus to Relaunch With Event Thursday". The Hill. Retrieved 25 April 2013.
- "Members of the Tea Party Caucus". Bachmann.house.gov. Retrieved January 4, 2013.
- Tea Party Caucus Official Website