Scalise, center, may make fewer changes to the Republican Study Committee than some expected when he was choosen as the new chairman last month.
Paul Teller, a key conservative House GOP aide, will stay on as executive director of the Republican Study Committee, a senior Republican has confirmed to Roll Call.
The decision by incoming RSC Chairman Steve Scalise, R-La., is a surprising coup for the resilient Teller, who will be working for his seventh RSC chairman in the group’s top staff position.
Teller has his share of enemies among Republican aides and even members, many of whom want to take the party in a more moderate direction and some of whom complain about non-ideological issues relating to how the RSC is managed.
But he maintains a strong base of support in the larger conservative infrastructure off Capitol Hill. And while there was talk that the arrangement would be temporary, the senior Republican said Teller was confirmed to stay on for the next two years.
The decision is the first sign of how Scalise will run the conservative group and indicates the changes he plans are less significant than some conservatives had feared.
Scalise told Roll Call that, as a candidate for the chairman’s slot, he planned to reposition the group to work more cooperatively with Republican leadership.
“The RSC needs to be the conservative conscience of the House Republicans. If you are effective, you are working with whoever is in leadership to pass a conservative agenda, to push the policy as far to the right as we can. Sometimes they will agree with us. Sometimes we will disagree with them,” he said.
A group of the RSC’s founders endorsed Rep. Tom Graves of Georgia for chairman, but Scalise overcame his opponent in the Nov. 15 election to lead the influential group.