Bachmann Forms Tea Party Caucus
It poses a tricky question for Republican leaders
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 20, 2010 4:18 PM CDT
A file photo from Feb. 9, 2010, of Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn.   (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

(Newser) – Tea Party favorite Michele Bachmann has formed an official Tea Party Caucus in the House of Representatives, a development that forces GOP leaders to answer what Politico terms an "existential question: Are you in or are you out?" For some, like Mike Pence, it's an easy call to join. For others, like Eric Cantor, who remains undecided, it's politically tricky territory.

They have to balance the rewards they would reap among the conservative base with the risk of alienating more moderate Republicans. "Until now, they have had the luxury of enjoying the benefits of tea party enthusiasm without having to actually declare membership," write Jonathan Allen and Jake Sherman. "But now that Bachmann has brought the tea party inside the Capitol, House Republican leaders and rank-and-file members may have to choose whether to join the institutionalized movement."