Rep. Michele Bachmann and GOP leaders are trying to dispel the idea that the Minnesota Republican’s planned speech following President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address is an alternative to the official GOP response.
House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has been tapped to give the Republican rebuttal to Tuesday night’s address, but Bachmann’s speech was also characterized as a “response” by Tea Party Express leader Amy Kremer in a Friday message to supporters. The national tea party organization will air the speech live on its website.
Bachmann, who founded the House’s new Tea Party Caucus, downplayed the idea Monday. “I was extended an invitation by the Tea Party Express to speak to their membership, and I never took this as a State of the Union response, necessarily, that I would be giving,” she said.
Bachmann added that she was “very excited” about the official response that Ryan is slated to give.
“This is not in competition,” she said. “This was really a reaction that I was giving to people in the tea party.”
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor similarly downplayed the significance of Bachmann’s planned remarks earlier Monday. “Paul Ryan is giving the official Republican response,” the Virginia Republican said, adding that Bachmann and the other 534 Members of the House and Senate will have their own opinions about the president’s speech.
“This is a process that happens every year and I look forward to all comments, but it is Paul Ryan that is giving the official Republican” response, Cantor said.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.