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House Approves Tea Party Caucus

Updated: 4:55 p.m.

The House Administration Committee on Friday officially approved Rep. Michele Bachmann’s request to form the House Tea Party Caucus, the Minnesota Republican announced on Facebook and Twitter on Monday.

The tea party protest mainstay, who found out about the confirmation Monday, now becomes the chairwoman of the caucus, institutionalizing the movement that has been gaining significant steam in tax day protests and GOP primaries around the country.

“She’s excited to get the ball rolling,” Bachmann spokesman Dave Dziok said. “The next step will be getting Members on board.”

Bachmann got her first colleague Monday: House Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence (R-Ind.) has joined the caucus, confirmed conference spokeswoman Mary Vought.

Bachmann filed paperwork to create the caucus Thursday, and on Friday, sent a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi urging the California Democrat to help with leadership support.

“In conversations my staff had with the [House Administration] Committee, some concerns were voiced that this caucus may face roadblocks due to the perceived political nature of the label ‘Tea Party,'” the note read. “The Tea Party Caucus is strictly issue based in nature, promoting policies of fiscal responsibility and limited government with a strict adherence to our Constitution at the forefront. By rejecting such an organization, we would be silencing the voices, values and principles held dear by millions of Americans.”

Bachmann hasn’t yet announced which other Members will join her in the caucus, but last week John Kennedy, spokesman for Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), said King might be interested.

King is also known to frequent tea party protests and, like Bachmann, he introduced a bill to repeal the health care reform law.

Rand Paul (R) has expressed interest in starting a similar caucus in the Senate if he wins his election bid in Kentucky.

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