The Tea Party Caucus is a congressional caucus of the United States House of Representatives and Senate launched and chaired by Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann on July 16, 2010. The caucus is dedicated to promoting what it considers 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.
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 of its members 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 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.
Members, 112th Congress
112th Congress Tea Party membership map.
The caucus chair is Michele Bachmann of Minnesota. Of a total possible 435 Representatives, as of March 31, 2011, the committee has 61 members, all Republicans.
- Sandy Adams, Florida
- Rodney Alexander, Louisiana
- Michele Bachmann, Minnesota, Chair
- Roscoe Bartlett, Maryland
- Joe Barton, Texas
- Gus Bilirakis, Florida
- Rob Bishop, Utah
- Diane Black, Tennessee
- Michael C. Burgess, Texas
- Paul Broun, Georgia
- Dan Burton, Indiana
- John Carter, Texas
- Bill Cassidy, Louisiana
- Howard Coble, North Carolina
- Mike Coffman, Colorado
- Ander Crenshaw, Florida
- John Culberson, Texas
- Jeff Duncan, South Carolina
- Blake Farenthold, Texas
- Stephen Fincher, Tennessee
- John Fleming, Louisiana
- Trent Franks, Arizona
- Phil Gingrey, Georgia
- Louie Gohmert, Texas
- Vicky Hartzler, Missouri
- Wally Herger, California
- Tim Huelskamp, Kansas
- Lynn Jenkins, Kansas
- Steve King, Iowa
- Doug Lamborn, Colorado
- Jeff Landry, Louisiana
- Blaine Luetkemeyer, Missouri
- Kenny Marchant, Texas
- Tom McClintock, California
- David McKinley, West Virginia
- Gary Miller, California
- Mick Mulvaney, South Carolina
- Randy Neugebauer, Texas
- Rich Nugent, Florida
- Steven Palazzo, Mississippi
- Steve Pearce, New Mexico
- Mike Pence, Indiana
- Ted Poe, Texas
- Tom Price, Georgia
- Denny Rehberg, Montana
- Phil Roe, Tennessee
- Dennis Ross, Florida
- Ed Royce, California
- Steve Scalise, Louisiana
- Tim Scott, South Carolina
- Pete Sessions, Texas
- Adrian Smith, Nebraska
- Lamar Smith, Texas
- Cliff Stearns, Florida
- Tim Walberg, Michigan
- Joe Walsh, Illinois
- Allen West, Florida
- Lynn Westmoreland, Georgia
- Joe Wilson, South Carolina
Members of Senate Caucus
Former members: Still in U.S. House
Former members: No longer in U.S. House
- ^ Sherman, Jake (July 16, 2010). "Bachmann forms Tea Party Caucus". Politico. http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0710/39848.html. Retrieved August 4, 2010.
- ^ Pappas, Alex (July 22, 2010). "Congressional Tea Party Caucus receives mixed reviews from Tea Party activists". The Daily Caller. http://dailycaller.com/2010/07/22/congressional-tea-party-caucus-receives-mixed-reviews-from-tea-party-activists/. Retrieved August 4, 2010.
- ^ Condon, Stephanie (July 19, 2010). "Bachmann's Tea Party Caucus Approved". CBS News. http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20010958-503544.html. Retrieved August 4, 2010.
- ^ Zdechlik, Mark (July 21, 2010). "Bachmann gathers Tea Party Caucus for first time". Minnesota Public Radio. http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2010/07/21/bachmann-tea-party-caucus/. Retrieved August 4, 2010.
- ^ a b c d HERSZENHORN, DAVID M. (January 27, 2011). "Senate Tea Party Caucus Holds First Meeting". New York Times. http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/27/senate-tea-party-caucus-holds-first-meeting/.
- ^ Vogel, Kenneth P. (August 2, 2010). "Tea party vs. Tea Party Caucus". Politico. http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0810/40528.html. Retrieved September 13, 2010.
- ^ Janie Lorber (July 21, 2010). "Tea Party Caucus Tackles Racism Charge". NY Times. http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/07/21/tea-party-caucus-tackles-racism-charge/.
- ^ Lorber, Janie (July 21, 2010). "Republicans Form Caucus for Tea Party in the House". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/22/us/politics/22tea.html. Retrieved September 13, 2010.
- ^ Rucker, Philip (January 28, 2011). "Senate Tea Party Caucus holds first meeting without some who had embraced banner". Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/27/AR2011012706966.html. Retrieved February 21, 2011.
- ^ "Why senators are avoiding the Tea Party Caucus". Christian Science Monitor. January 28, 2011. http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Elections/Tea-Party-Tally/2011/0128/Why-senators-are-avoiding-the-Tea-Party-Caucus. Retrieved February 21, 2011.
- ^ "Pat Toomey Supports Tea Party Caucus but won't Join it". Nothington Post. January 31, 2011. http://nothingtonpost.blogspot.com/2011/01/pat-toomey-supports-but-wont-join-tea.html. Retrieved February 21, 2011.
- ^ "Ron Johnson: of the Tea Party, but not the Tea Party Caucus". JS Online. January 28, 2011. http://www.jsonline.com/blogs/news/114766299.html. Retrieved February 21, 2011.
- ^ Siegel, Elyse (February 7, 2011). "Marco Rubio Shows Little Love For Tea Party Caucus (AUDIO)". Huffington Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/02/07/marco-rubio-tea-party-caucus_n_819800.html. Retrieved February 21, 2011.
- ^ Drake, Bruce (August 1, 2010). "The New House Tea Party Caucus: Where Its Members Get Campaign Cash". Politics Daily. http://www.politicsdaily.com/2010/08/01/the-new-house-tea-party-caucus-where-its-members-get-campaign-c/. Retrieved August 5, 2010.
- ^ "Members of the Tea Party Caucus". Bachmann.house.gov. http://bachmann.house.gov/News/DocumentSingle.aspx?DocumentID=226594. Retrieved August 4, 2011.