An Organizing Tool of Congress.
A congressional caucus is a group of members of Congress who come together to pursue common legislative goals. These groups are often not based on partisan lines, but rather based on the interests and goals of the member. As a result, they are often bipartisan. Often times, caucuses will work in tandem with interest groups and the bureaucracy to advance their agenda.
The number of caucuses will vary widely depending on the interests of the members and their legislative goals. For example, the bipartisan Congressional Boating Caucus, seeks to advance the interests of recreational boat users.
Some of the interests of caucus can be very narrow. Here is the press release announcing the creation of the Congressional Baseball Caucus.
Your task: research your member of Congress (VoteSmart.org is a fine resource!) and answer the questions that follow.
Questions for Completion.
1. With what congressional caucus is your member of Congress affiliated?
2. Why do you think your member of Congress is affiliated with these caucuses?
3. Caucuses have long been a characterizing feature of Congress. Why do you think this is? What is their function in our democracy? Are they necessary?
Photo/Image: Congressional Black Caucus, Founding Members. Source: U.S. Congress.