A group of conservative House Republicans led by Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) today hailed the formation of the congressional Tea Party Caucus, claiming that it will serve as a platform for dialogue between Congress and the grassroots movement that has shaken up American politics over the last year.
Speaking at a press conference following the group’s first meeting, Bachmann told reporters that the caucus will try to advance the principles of the Tea Party’s members, who she said believe “that we are taxed enough already, that the federal government should not spend more money than it takes in and that Congress should act within the constitutional limitations that are given to us by the Founding Fathers.”
The Minnesota congresswoman emphasized that the caucus would not be setting the Tea Party’s agenda or directing its operations. “We are not the mouthpiece of the Tea Party, we are not taking the Tea Party and controlling it from Washington,” she said. “I am not the head of the Tea Party nor or any of these members of Congress the head of the Tea Party movement. The people are the head of the Tea Party movement,” Bachmann said.
While Bachmann’s remarks contained little of the damning rhetoric that has become commonplace among Tea Party supporters both in Congress and elsewhere, the lawmakers who followed her were quick to hurl a variety of accusations at President Obama and congressional Democrats.
Paul Broun (R-Ga.) accused Democrats in Congress and President Obama of engaging in “fiscal irresponsibility” and implied that the current government has ignored the Constitution and is denying Americans their freedom.
John Culberson (R-Texas) dialed up the rhetoric, declaring that the Tea Party would “sweep out these extremists that are governing the Congress in November.”
Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) went so far as to accuse liberals of infiltrating protests against the sweeping health care bill passed earlier this year. “There were plants all the way through crowd,” he said of one demonstration. “In fact, I got cussed by one when I got to the end of the street. I didn’t come running to the media, whining and crying.” Continue reading…