Tea Party Caucus Debuts Wednesday

In Alice in Wonderland, the Mad Hatter had Tea Parties throughout the day because time was permanently suspended at 6 p.m.

A big Capitol Hill Tea Party starts Wednesday at 9 a.m -- the first official meeting of the Congressional Tea Party Caucus.

At least eight House members, all Republicans, are joining the Tea Party Caucus. The members include Reps. Mike Pence of Indiana, Pete Hoekstra of Michigan, Paul Broun of Georgia, Todd Tiahrt of Kansas, John Carter of Texas, Cliff Stearns of Florida and Dan Burton of Indiana.

Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota championed the effort by asking House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ,D-Calif., late last week if she would allow lawmakers to form such an organization.

Caucuses are informal groups sanctioned by the House. They come in all shapes and forms. Some focus on regional interests, such as the Western Caucus. Others devote their time to industry, such as the Steel Caucus. Still, others advocate specific policy positions, like the Out of Iraq Caucus.

Congress allocates no money for a caucus. But some congressional resources may be used to handle the official business of the caucuses.

“The Tea Party Caucus is designed to give these frustrated Americans a voice in Washington,” said Broun. “The caucus understands that we represent the American people.”

Meantime, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer,D-Md., expressed reservation about some factions associated with the Tea Party.

“I have seen some virulent, racist tracks,” Hoyer said. “We’ll see how many Republicans will join the Tea Party Caucus.”