Tea Party Caucus Offers 'Voice' for the People

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CAPITOL HILL - The political movement driving debates on race relations, influencing elections and holding rallies across the country now has a voice in the House of Representatives.

The Tea Party Caucus organized for the first time, Wednesday, with 24 members of Congress in attendance.

Founding Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann hopes the group will give a voice to America's everyday people.

"I have talked to many people who felt discouraged because no one in Washington, D.C. seemed willing to listen," Bachmann said. "This caucus will change that sentiment and ensure the voices of the people are carried through the halls of Congress."

The caucus is open to both parties, but so far all of its members are Republicans.

At the first meeting, members heard from Americans from all walks of life, including an Army veteran who's now a stay at home mom, immigrants and a construction worker.

"We decided to form a Tea Party Caucus for one very important purpose -- to listen to the concerns of the Tea Party," Bachmann explained. "We are not the mouthpiece of the Tea Party. We are not taking the Tea Party and controlling it from Washington D.C."

"I am not the head of the Tea Party nor are any of these members the head of the Tea Party movement," she continued. "The people are the head of the Tea Party movement."

Bachmann is hoping to get permission for Skype access, an online video tool that can be used to communicate with Tea Party members who can't make it to Washington to express their concerns

While some Republicans want to see the Tea Party play a bigger role within the GOP, not all strategists think it's a good idea.

Some conservative leaders have also decided not to join the caucus -- most notably, the top House Republican, Minority Leader John Boehner.

The Tea Party movement doesn't have a central leader and, along with any benefits the party would gain, the GOP would also be left holding the baggage of Tea Party controversies if it got more involved.

Many Tea Party activists also say they'd rather not be pulled into any party's fold. They argue that if they were completely happy with the actions of either the Republican or Democratic parties, there would be no Tea Party.

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CBN News
Jennifer Wishon

Jennifer Wishon

CBN News White House Correspondent

Jennifer Wishon is the White House correspondent for CBN News based in the network’s Washington, D.C. Bureau.  Before taking over the White House beat, Jennifer covered Capitol Hill and other national news, from the economy to the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Follow Jennifer on Twitter @JenniferWishon and "like" her at Facebook.com/JennWishon.