Cliff Stearns of Ocala and Gus Bilirakis of Palm Harbor are among the 38 members of Congress included in the new the Tea Party Caucus.
The list, maintained by Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, had previously — and mistakenly — included Central Florida Republican John Mica.
Members of the caucus met with Tea Party activists yesterday in Washington:
“We decided to form a Tea Party Caucus for one very important reason, to listen to the concerns of the tea party,” said Bachmann. “What we are not, 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 of Congress. The people are head of the tea party.”
Bachmann, long the informal leader of the tea party in Congress as a popular speaker at movement rallies during the health-care debate, further established that role by founding the caucus. She filled out the paperwork to create it last week and then led Wednesday’s meeting, which included caucus members and two dozen activists, most from the Washington area.