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 RyanGaetz tells CPAC he won't take PAC money Paul Ryan says he disagrees with Romney's impeachment vote Trump doubles down on Neil Cavuto attacks: 'Will he get the same treatment as' Shep Smith? 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 TrumpThe Memo: Biden seeks revival in South Carolina Congress eyes billion to billion to combat coronavirus Sanders makes the case against Biden ahead of SC primary MORE’s personal lawyer, tensions heated up over potential U.S. airstrikes in Syria, and Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergHillicon Valley — Presented by Facebook — Federal court rules tech giants can censor content | Trump upends surveillance fight | Senate passes bill barring federal funds for Huawei equipment Democrats hit Facebook over gun sales on platform Warren plays 'name that billionaire' with Colbert 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 McConnellOvernight Energy: Murkowski, Manchin unveil major energy bill | Lawmakers grill EPA chief over push to slash agency's budget | GOP lawmaker accuses Trump officials of 'playing politics' over Yucca Mountain Lawmakers race to pass emergency coronavirus funding Trump upends controversial surveillance fight 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 BradyDemocrats, GOP spar over Treasury rules on Trump tax law Ex-HHS chief threatens to vote 'no' on surprise medical billing measure Bipartisan Ways and Means leaders unveil measure to stop surprise medical bills 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 SchweikertOvernight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Democrats seek to preempt Trump message on health care | E-cigarette executives set for grilling | Dems urge emergency funding for coronavirus Democrats slam GOP on drug prices in bilingual digital ads Overnight Defense: House passes bills to rein in Trump on Iran | Pentagon seeks Iraq's permission to deploy missile defenses | Roberts refuses to read Paul question on whistleblower during impeachment trial MORE (AZ-06), Rep. Thomas MassieThomas Harold MassieThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump on US coronavirus risks: 'We're very, very ready for this' House passes historic legislation to make lynching a federal hate crime Overnight Energy: Green groups to sue over Trump rollback of Obama water rules | GOP climate plan faces pushback from right | Bezos launches B climate initiative MORE (KY-04) and Rep. Justin AmashJustin AmashThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump on US coronavirus risks: 'We're very, very ready for this' House passes historic legislation to make lynching a federal hate crime Barr ensnared in Roger Stone firestorm 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.