Bachmann wants bipartisan membership for Tea Party Caucus

The founder of the House Tea Party Caucus said Tuesday she wants the group to have Republican and Democratic members. 

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), one of the most conservative members of Congress, said on Fox News that Republicans and conservative Democrats should rally around the Tea Party's ideals of less spending and smaller government by joining the group. 

"It's bipartisan, it's open to everyone," she said. 

The creation of the group, which was made official Monday, put political pressure on GOP lawmakers on their decision to join. 

But Bachmann said  the group's membership rolls should not be politically divisive. She said she even extends an invitation to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)

"The very first member to join the caucus is a member of the Republican leadership [Conference Chairman Mike Pence (Ind.)]," she said. "I've written a letter to invite Speaker Pelosi to join as well."

Upon its founding, observers questioned whether or not membership in the group will be a litmus test for House GOP incumbents among Tea Party groups. Bachmann appeared to downplay partisan connotations the group may have. 

House Minority Leader John Boehner's (R-Ohio) office said Monday he would not join because he does not belong to other caucus groups. The caucus will meet for the first time Wednesday morning. A second member, Republican Rep. Paul Broun (Ga.) announced he would also join Tuesday. 

Republicans have attempted to harness members of the conservative Tea Party movement as a potential voting bloc, but members have criticized lawmakers in both parties who they say have expanded the reach of government. 

Tea Party groups have endorsed only one Democrat running for reelection, centrist Rep. Walt Minnick (Idaho). 


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