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Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Senate Tea Party Caucus

In July 2010, in response & in support of the Tea Party movement, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann formed the House Tea Party Caucus.  Bachmann stated the House Tea Party Caucus was created not to be the voice of the Tea Party movement but more of an outlet for Tea Party groups to voice their concerns at the House level. 

At the time, while Bachmann has been a great supporter of the movement, many Tea Party coordinators & members had mixed feelings and many concerns on having an 'official' House Tea Party Caucus and the effects - good & bad - it may have on the movement. (Read here & here).

This past Thursday Senator Rand Paul & Senator Jim DeMint held the first Senate Tea Party Caucus...
Only four U.S. senators attended the Senate Tea Party Caucus' first meeting, with at least three new senators who won under the populist banner staying away.

"I sprang from the Tea Party and have great respect for what it represents," Sen. Ronald H. Johnson, R-Wis., one of the movement's stars, said in a statement.

But he will not join the caucus because he fears it could be divisive, he said. Instead, he said he will seek to bring Tea Party ideas under the broader Republican umbrella.

Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Patrick J. Toomey, R-Pa., also declined to join the caucus, whose Thursday meeting was organized by freshmen Sens. Rand Paul, R-Ky., Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Jim DeMint, R-S.C., as a venue for promoting Tea Party ideals.

They were joined by freshman Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan. (UPI)
Defending Senator Marco Rubio's decision not to join the Caucus and, without casting any doubt on Senator Paul or DeMint's intentions or die-hard support of the Tea Party movement, some Tea Party coordinators are concerned about the outside influences behind the Senate Tea Party Caucus...
"Sen. Rubio has been sincere and faithful to the tea party values of fiscal responsibility, constitutional limited government, and free markets," writes Everett Wilkinson, head of the South Florida Tea Party. "Neither Rubio nor any other elected official should feel compelled by the grassroots tea party to join any 'Tea Party Caucus.' The tea party movement is comprised of grassroots, leaderless, bottom up, and decentralized organizations that operate opposite to DC business." More... 
We want to think, and have every reason to believe, Senator Paul & Senator DeMint, can and will resist any agenda-driven forces. If there are two people in D.C. that really appear to understand and respect the power of the Tea Party movement -  it would be Senator Rand Paul & Senator Jim DeMint.

Considering what has been accomplished by the informal "We the People" Caucus built over the last two years by Tea Party, 9.12 & Liberty-minded groups across the U.S., the question moving forward should be -- Do we really need a Tea Party Caucus in the House or Senate? 

Please share your thoughts and concerns below or email them to us at clevelandteaparty@gmail.com. From email's received so far the sentiment has been evenly mixed from strongly support to strongly oppose and the majority of them being cautiously optimistic.  You input is needed and will be greatly appreciated.

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