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 RyanPelosi slated to deliver remarks during panel hearing on poverty Indiana GOP Rep. Brooks says she won't seek reelection Indiana GOP Rep. Brooks says she won't seek reelection 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 TrumpGOP senator introduces bill to hold online platforms liable for political bias Rubio responds to journalist who called it 'strange' to see him at Trump rally Rubio responds to journalist who called it 'strange' to see him at Trump rally MORE’s personal lawyer, tensions heated up over potential U.S. airstrikes in Syria, and Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergTech giants head down 'dangerous' censorship path Tech giants head down 'dangerous' censorship path The Hill's Morning Report - Trump and House Democrats resume battle 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 Defense: Shanahan exit shocks Washington | Pentagon left rudderless | Lawmakers want answers on Mideast troop deployment | Senate could vote on Saudi arms deal this week | Pompeo says Trump doesn't want war with Iran Senators reach .5B deal on Trump's emergency border request Senators reach .5B deal on Trump's emergency border request 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 BradyFirst major 'Medicare for All' hearing sharpens attacks on both sides First major 'Medicare for All' hearing sharpens attacks on both sides House passes bipartisan IRS reform bill without 'Free File' provision 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 Schweikert58 GOP lawmakers vote against disaster aid bill House ethics panel renews probes into three GOP lawmakers House Ethics Committee extends probe of Arizona GOP lawmaker MORE (AZ-06), Rep. Thomas MassieThomas Harold MassieThis week: Democrats move funding bills as caps deal remains elusive This week: Democrats move funding bills as caps deal remains elusive House conservative's procedural protest met with bipartisan gripes MORE (KY-04) and Rep. Justin AmashJustin AmashHouse passes amendment to block funding for transgender troops ban House passes amendment to block funding for transgender troops ban House votes against curtailing warrantless collection of Americans' data 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.