WASHINGTON -- GOP Rep. Tom Emmer and Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison said Tuesday they were joining together to launch a Somalia Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The effort comes as the African country "emerges from decades of violent conflict and humanitarian crises," the two said in a statement Tuesday.
"We are committed to assisting the Somali government build on economic and security gains they have achieved," the statement said. "Together, we represent some of the largest Somali-American communities in the United States; for us and the constituents we represent, Somalia is not a far off foreign policy issue, it’s a matter of domestic policy and national security."
It doesn't get more politically varied in Minnesota than Emmer and Ellison's districts -- each represent the state's most conservative and most liberal areas respectively. Emmer replaced Rep. Michele Bachmann in the Sixth Congressional District and Ellison represents Minneapolis proper, among the most liberal Congressional districts in the United States.
Tuesday's announcement is particularly newsworthy for Emmer. His predecessor, former GOP presidential hopeful Bachmann, founded the Tea Party Caucus back in 2010. That caucus, which is less active in this Congress, doesn't appear to have an updated website of members.
Caucuses can be as active and prominent as the leaders make them out to be. They can be broad, like the Democratic Caucus or the Western Caucus, or more narrowly focused, like the National Guard Caucus or the Cut Flower Caucus.