10 Congressional Caucuses You Might Not Believe Exist
It’s likely that you've heard news coming from the Democratic or Republican Caucuses but you may have missed out on some of the other interesting caucuses that lawmakers participate in.
There are dozens of caucuses currently in Congress. When you view the list you may conclude that there is no subject lawmakers won’t get involved in.
Here’s a look at of some highlights.
1. The Congressional Bike Caucus – according to the League of American Bicyclists webpage, the caucus was formed by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.).“Rep. Blumenauer worked closely with bike advocacy groups and learned over time that bicyclists are some of the most determined, dedicated, and fun people around. The combination of these experiences led to the development of the House Bike Caucus.”
Among Blumenauer’s recent efforts is a move to hike up the gas tax and eventually switch over to a vehicle mile travel fee.
2. The Congressional Horse Caucus – Congressmen Andy Barr (R-Ky.) and Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.) are co-chairs.
The American Horse Council says, “The Congressional Horse Caucus is a bipartisan group of Members of the House of Representatives formed to educate Congress and their staffs about the importance of the horse industry in the economic, agricultural, sporting, gaming and recreational life of the nation.”
A recent press release from Rep. Barr’s office is titled, “Barr Applauds Kentucky's Bid to Host 2018 World Equestrian Games”
3. The Congressional Baseball Caucus- Just about every sport has a caucus in Congress including, hockey, tennis and baseball. Congressman Roger Williams (R-Texas) created the Congressional Baseball Caucus with Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pa.).
According to William’s website, “This is a great opportunity for members on both sides of the aisle to come together and share in our passion for America’s favorite past time: baseball,” said Williams, a former professional baseball player with the Atlanta Braves’ farm system and Texas Christian University. “I can’t think of a better way to set aside our partisan differences than to get together once in a while and hear from baseball legends, discuss important issues about the game, and simply enjoy each other’s company.”
4. The Toy Caucus – Led by Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wis.) and Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.).A Washington Times report says, “Members of the Toy Caucus recognize the toy industry’s significant impact on the U.S. economy and the critical role of play in the lives of children,” Mr. Kind said in the founding statement. “We look forward to working with representatives of the industry to advance discussions on topics ranging from toy safety and the value of play to the growth of small toy businesses.”
5. The Congressional Boating Caucus – The National Marine Manufacturers Association says, “The Congressional Boating Caucus is an informal, bipartisan group of U.S. Senators and Representatives formed in 1989 to advocate the interests of the recreational boating industry.”
They have an impressive list of House and Senate members that can be seen here.
6. The Congressional Bourbon Caucus –Congressmen John Yarmuth (R-Ky.) and Brett Guthrie (R-Ky.) jointly announced the formation of the Congressional Bourbon Caucus in 2009.According to Yarmuth’s press release at the time, “Both Congressmen will serve as co-chairs of the Caucus, a bipartisan group of members dedicated to maintaining and strengthening the bourbon industry in the United States and educating other Members on the legislative and regulatory issues impacting the industry.”
“According to federal statute, bourbon is recognized as a ‘distinctive product of the United States’ and is required to be aged in new, charred oak barrels for a minimum of two years.”
7. The Cloud Computing Caucus – Formed by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), it claims to be focused on raising awareness of issues associated with cloud computing.
The caucus’ advisory group made a statement when President Obama released his FY2015 budget, urging the government to “take full advantage of cloud computing benefits to maximize capacity utilization, improve IT flexibility and responsiveness, and minimize cost.”
I’m going to guess that Rep. Issa is really wishing the IRS had certain e-mails backed up on the cloud.
8. The Wire and Wire Products Caucus - Representatives Sam Graves (R –Mo.) and Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) helped to get this caucus started.
The American Wire Producers Association says the caucus, “will provide educational briefings to legislators and their staffs on the specific issues of concern and most importance to wire and wire producing companies in the United States.”
9. Friends of Norway Caucus – Helping to keep the peace between the U.S. and Norway since its establishment in 1999.
Its list of members can be found on the Norwegian Embassy website, where it’s noted, “The Friends of Norway Caucus meets when suitable occasions occur, such as visits by Norwegian parliamentarians, or if issues of particular interest or concern to the more than 5 million Americans of Norwegian decent should be addressed.”
10. The Congressional Cut Flower Caucus - headed by Lois Capps (D-Calif.) and Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), the caucus was announced at a Washington, DC, press conference in February of this year.
In its coverage of the caucus The Produce News, “contacted the offices of both Reps. Capps and Hunter and a Congressional aide said there is no pending legislative agenda at this time. The Cut Flower Caucus is currently a platform for education and discussion.”