House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) praised Tea Party activists on the first anniversary of the movement.
Tea Partyers point to the middle of February 2009 as their founding date when some of them held protests against the $787 billion federal stimulus package and other Obama administration economic policies. The protests were amplified by an on-air tirade by CNBC's Rick Santelli about the banking bailouts enacted by the Bush administration.
Although the loosely confederated Tea Party movement is largely filled with conservative activists, they have often chafed at pledging allegiance to the Republican Party because they say many party members have abandoned conservative principles.
Boehner said, "It’s not enough, however, for Republicans to simply voice respect for what the tea partiers are doing, praise their efforts, and participate in their rallies. Republicans must listen to them, stand with them, and walk among them."
Some Republican candidates have distanced themselves from Tea Partyers but others have courted their support for the midterm elections this fall.