A Tea Party Caucus? Michelle Bachmann Seeks to Form New House Grouping

Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., addresses a Tea party rally at Freedom Plaza in Washington, Thursday, April 15, 2010. <br><br> <b><a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20002600-503544.html" class="linkIcon read">Protesters Rally Against "Gangster Government"</a></b> AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Congress members love to join caucuses. It's just another way to show your constituents what really matters to you. There's the Congressional Black Caucus that champions issues important to black Americans. Many Northern California members are members of the Wine Caucus. There's even a Bike Caucus, championed by Portland, Oregon, Representative Earl Blumenauer who says in all earnestness that his caucus is "bike-partisan."

Name the hot issue of the moment, and a new caucus is bound to pop up. The Jobs Now! Caucus, for example, is one of the newest. (Here's a list of all the caucuses)

So what about a Tea Party Caucus?

Tea Party favorite, Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-Minn.) is on the case. Bachmann announced in a statement last night that she's filed the paperwork to form this new caucus that would be all about "fiscal responsibility, adherence to the Constitution, and limited government."

"The American people are speaking out loud and clear," reads Bachmann's statement. "They have had enough of the spending, the bureaucracy, and the government knows best mentality running rampant today throughout the halls of Congress. This caucus will espouse the timeless principles of our founding, principles that all Members of Congress have sworn to uphold. The American people are doing their part and making their voices heard and this caucus will prove that there are some here in Washington willing to listen."

According to the Committee on House Administration's website, the committee has to approve Bachmann's request. Once approved, these caucuses are prohibited from hiring employees that just work on that committee, they don't get any office space and they can't take advantage of member's free mailing privileges.

But it gives them a platform. You can bet that when the Capitol Hill press corps hears that the "Tea Party Caucus" is doing a press conference, the media will surely be there in droves to cover it.


(CBS)
Jill Jackson is a CBS News Capitol Hill Producer. You can read more of her posts in Hotsheet here. You can also follow her on Twitter.

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    Jill Jackson is a CBS News senior political producer.

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