Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has hired Paul Teller, the former executive director of the House’s Republican Study Coalition (RSC), his office announced in a press release Monday.
Teller will serve as Cruz’s deputy chief of staff effective Jan. 16, 2014. “Paul’s many years of experience working in Congress and his tireless work to advance conservative principles make him a tremendous addition to our team,” Cruz said in a statement announcing Teller’s hiring. “I look forward to working with him to keep making Texans’ voices heard in Washington and to promote a positive policy agenda that will restore economic growth, rein in government overreach, and protect Americans’ personal liberties.”
Teller added that he is excited to begin working for Cruz. “It is an honor and privilege to work for Sen. Cruz,” Teller said in the statement. “His leadership is truly motivating, and I can’t wait to get started on our collaboration for liberty.”
Teller was fired by RSC chairman Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) in December. The RSC is functionally a conservative group of House Republicans who aim to take the GOP conference in a more conservative direction. In recent years, many more establishment-minded Republicans have made their way into the RSC – and Scalise, its chairman this Congress, is a close ally of House Speaker John Boehner, as Breitbart News’s Tony Lee reported when Teller was fired.
Establishment figures framed Teller’s firing as a response to his somehow “undermining” GOP lawmakers. In fact, according to the Washington Post, it came in response to work he had been doing to expose the budget deal House Budget Committee chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) cut with Senate Budget Committee chairwoman Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA).
At the same time Teller was fired for pushing conservative principles – the mission of the RSC – Boehner was publicly attacking outside conservative groups for their criticism of the Ryan-Murray budget deal. Boehner said conservative groups had “lost all credibility.”
It turns out that, through the budget deal, it was Boehner’s and Ryan’s credibility that came under scrutiny. Over the course of the past month since the deal was cut, it has become clear that Ryan – with Boehner’s political cover – systematically misled the House GOP conference to get Republicans to vote for the deal.
Conservative leaders fired back at the establishment’s framing of Teller’s firing, saying he is a leader that Ronald Reagan would admire. Many conservative movement leaders backed a coalition letter condemning his firing, which had signatures from former Attorney General for the Reagan administration Ed Meese, former Rep. David McIntosh (R-IN), ForAmerica’s Brent Bozell, Heritage Action’s Mike Needham, Let Freedom Ring’s Colin Hanna, Eagle Forum’s Phyllis Schlafly, Red State’s Erick Erickson, the Tea Party Patriots’ Jenny Beth Martin, FreedomWorks’s Matt Kibbe, Tea Party Express’s Amy Kremer, and Citizens United’s David Bossie, among many others.
“Paul Teller is one of the true heroes of the conservative movement,” they wrote. “For over a decade, he has been the guiding light of conservatism on Capitol Hill. No one has done more to advance conservative principles and block the liberal agenda than Paul Teller. In the tradition of President Reagan, he is a true happy warrior who is both forceful and courageous.”
Moving into Cruz’s office as his deputy chief of staff will likely give Teller even more influence over happenings throughout the conservative movement. Now, Cruz has a seasoned House conservative warrior on board in a senior position to help further develop the conservative playbook moving forward.