Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., and her fledgling Tea Party Caucus held its first meeting and press conference this morning, announcing it has 29 charter members. Rather than serving as the Tea Party movement's "mouthpiece," the group will be a receptive ear on Capitol Hill, members said. The caucus so far counts three of the five top House GOP leaders in its group -- Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence of Indiana, National Republican Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Pete Sessions of Texas, and Republican Study Committee Chairman Tom Price of Georgia.
Minority Leader Boehner is not joining, citing a general rule of only belonging to the House Republican Caucus. In the closed door-meeting, 24 of the charter members attended to hear a diverse group of Tea Party activists, including minorities, speak about the changes they want to see in Washington. Some of those activists also spoke at the news conference. Their attendance, said Rep. Dan Burton, R-Ind., should dispel "a lot of rumors about racism and other things."
This article appears in the July 24, 2010 edition of National Journal Daily PM Update.