Boehner Gets His Scalp
By Harold Callahan – December 11, 2013
The Speaker of the House of Representatives got a scalp today with the firing of conservative congressional staffer and stalwart Paul Teller.
For over a decade, Mr. Teller guided the Republican Study Committee (RSC), the most influential and important conservative group in Congress, as its Executive Director. The RSC came to prominence in the early 1990s when George Bush, Dick Darman and company attempted to force a tax increase on the American people. The group rallied members and ultimately defeated the first version of the tax increase in the House.
The group has always been an independent voice for conservatives in Congress. Through the Bush years — from sellouts on education and prescription drugs — the RSC and Teller held steadfast to their conservative views making life for the Leadership difficult.
Late last year, the Leadership engineered the election of Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) to head the organization, fearing that his opponent Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA) could not be controlled. Scalise kept Teller at the helm but the relationship was always tenuous.
When news broke that Rep. Paul Ryan and the leadership were engineering the repeal of the sequester, Mr. Teller went to work. He informed conservative groups throughout DC about the impending sell-out. While Teller never lost his nerve, Scalise did. He fired Teller, no doubt on the demands of the Speaker.
Any smart member of Congress would snatch up Mr. Teller and use his knowledge and influence to build conservative opposition to the Leadership. If no one is willing to stand up, at least Mr. Teller can leave Congress with his head held high. Mr. Scalise and the House GOP Leadership cannot.
His opposition to the Ryan-Boehner Budget Sellout was too much for the leadership to stomach.