Paul Ryan’s successor must embrace the House Freedom Caucus

Paul Ryan’s successor must embrace the House Freedom Caucus
© Greg Nash

House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanPolitical figures pay tribute to Charles Krauthammer House approves five-year farm bill House postpones vote on compromise immigration bill MORE (R-Wis.) picked quite the week to announce his retirement in January. In the past couple days, the FBI raided the office and hotel room of President TrumpDonald John TrumpCNN analyst Kirsten Powers: Melania's jacket should read 'Let them eat cake' CNN's Cuomo confronts Lewandowski over 'womp womp' remark Sessions says FBI agent Peter Strzok no longer has his security clearance MORE’s personal lawyer, tensions heated up over potential U.S. airstrikes in Syria, and Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergFacebook group raises million for detained immigrants Hillicon Valley: Verizon, AT&T call off data partnerships after pressure | Tech speaks out against Trump family separation policy | T-Mobile, Sprint make case for B merger Major tech lobbying group urges Trump to end family separations at border MORE wore a suit for probably the first time since his high school prom.

While Speaker Ryan’s announcement sent shockwaves through the Republican Party, the truth is, there is no hurry to pick an immediate successor to his leadership position.

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Republicans have the rest of the year to continue fighting for their legislative agenda and to defend their majorities in the House and Senate. Speaker Ryan will be in his office to guide the GOP through the rest of the year, as normal.

Speaker Ryan’s retirement is not a threat to the GOP, it’s an opportunity. Republicans have time to choose wisely, and they need to make the most of it.

Fiscal conservatives will always tip their hats to Speaker Ryan for overseeing a historic tax code overhaul that continues to boost the middle class and grow the economy. However, tax reform was only half the battle.

House Republicans must select leadership that will consistently fight to “drain the swamp,” cut spending, and return Congress to regular order. The right candidates will have a plan to end the destructive cycle of omnibus spending deals, and the courage to stand up to Sen. Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellPolitical figures pay tribute to Charles Krauthammer Charles Krauthammer dies at the age of 68 Overnight Energy: EPA declines to write new rule for toxic spills | Senate blocks move to stop Obama water rule | EPA bought 'tactical' pants and polos MORE (R-Ky.) and the other big spenders in the Senate.

The next speaker must embrace the House Freedom Caucus as a key constituency in the Republican majority. If this legislative cycle is any indication, the House Freedom Caucus and other like-minded House conservatives are the future of the GOP.

FreedomWorks was proud to fight alongside legislative entrepreneurs like Rep. Andy Biggs (AZ-05), who championed a "Right to Try" bill that preserves the fundamental right for people on their death beds to fight for their lives.

Our community of grassroots conservatives enthusiastically supported key influencers in the GOP leadership like Rep. Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradyLawmakers, businesses await guidance on tax law On The Money: Trump imposes B in tariffs on China | China blasts 'fickle' Trump, promises payback | Trump to name consumer bureau director next week Trump announces tariffs on billion in Chinese goods MORE, who helped pass the ‘Tax Cuts and Jobs Act’ along with other legislation that shrunk the size of government and advanced individual liberty.

We continue to rally support around conservative and libertarian leaders like Rep. Dave Brat (VA-07), Rep. David SchweikertDavid SchweikertMembers of Congress demand new federal gender pay audit Republican candidate favored in Arizona special House election Ryan leaves legacy of tax cuts and deficits MORE (AZ-06), Rep. Thomas MassieThomas Harold MassieSenate braces for Trump showdown over Chinese telecom giant Overnight Defense: Trump, Kim poised for historic summit | Trump blasts 'haters and losers' hours before meeting | Defense bill to include ZTE penalties | Lawmakers sound alarm over 'catastrophic' Yemen offensive Lawmakers circulate 'urgent call' for Mattis to prevent 'catastrophic' Yemen offensive MORE (KY-04) and Rep. Justin AmashJustin AmashGOP rep refutes Trump's account of Sanford attacks: 'People were disgusted' Trump claims Sanford remarks booed by lawmakers were well-received GOP congressman blasts Trump’s attack on Sanford as ‘classless’ MORE (MI-03), who each have almost flawless lifetime scores on the FreedomWorks Congressional Scorecard for making the hard votes when they matter the most.

The next speaker must support these conservative leaders, and work alongside them to make the GOP the party of free markets and limited government again.

We cannot fall into the trap of rushing the process and settling on a consensus candidate. Choosing a speaker based on the flawed criteria of “who upsets the status quo establishment the least” will only lead to more of the same. More massive spending bills, more blinking on health care reform, and more negotiating with ourselves rather than the Democrats.

Republican voters are paying attention. Moderate and left-leaning Republicans in Congress have already blown their credibility on spending, and as a result will be rejected by the fiscally conservative voting base of the GOP.

If Republican voters stay home in 2018, it’s not because Paul Ryan announced his retirement. It’s because taxpayers can no longer tell the difference between Republicans and Democrats.

The only way Speaker Ryan’s exit could sabotage the GOP’s midterm election performance is if House Republicans rush the process and pick a successor who stands for more of the same.

Adam Brandon is the president and CEO of FreedomWorks.