Rep. Spencer BachusSpencer BachusBusiness groups silent on Trump's Ex-Im nominee Trump picks critic of Ex-Im Bank to lead it Spencer Bachus: True leadership MORE (R-Ala.) puts the number of socialists in the House at 17.

"Some of the men and women I work with in Congress are socialists," Bachus told local government leaders on Thursday, according to the Birmingham News.

Bachus gave the specific number of House socialists when pressed later by a reporter.

He made the comments during a breakfast in Birmingham in which he praised President Obama. Bachus said that Obama is a better listener than President Bush, but that Obama was being steered to the left by Congress.

"He tries to get ideas from people," Bachus said. He added that he has "some hope" for the new president.

Bachus, the top Republican on the House Financial Services Committee, actually voted for last fall's bank bailout that other Republicans had opposed and criticized as socialism. Bachus, however, has been critical of the way the bailout has been conducted and has called on the Treasury Department to be more transparent in how they make decisions.