‘Freedom Agenda’ Affords Hopeful Imaginative and prescient for America’s Future

After serving as vice chairman of the US, Mike Pence created a brand new group devoted to selling and defending the insurance policies he championed throughout his 4 years in workplace.

To steer this new group, he tapped Paul Teller, a veteran of Capitol Hill who labored for Pence and President Donald Trump within the White Home. Teller is now government director of Advancing American Freedom.

At this time, the group helps to form the agenda for conservatives, the brand new Congress, and our subsequent president. Teller joins “The Each day Sign Podcast” to speak in regards to the Freedom Agenda and extra. Learn a evenly edited transcript or take heed to the interview.

Rob Bluey: You’ve had some large experiences engaged on Capitol Hill for the Republican Research Committee, serving as Sen. Ted Cruz’s chief of employees, after which later going into the Trump administration within the heart of the motion on the White Home. Inform us about that journey.

Paul Teller: It’s a implausible privilege. I imply, I suppose you would say I’ve been a conservative motion man my entire life, began in seventh grade as type of an activist troublemaker in public faculty and all the best way up, as you mentioned, to the Trump-Pence White Home. However I believe possibly one of the thrilling instances was working for Home conservatives, as you mentioned, for the Republican Research Committee again when the RSC was notably strong in its fights and as soon as the chairman was Mike Pence. So we return to that.

Bluey: And naturally, Home conservatives are within the information lots these days, having simply staged this large battle for the Home speaker. So what was it like, having that information and that perspective that you just had on the RSC, to observe that play out in actual time?

Teller: It was two issues. One was deeply satisfying as a result of a few of what we noticed play out clearly had constructed on a few of the successes of earlier Home conservative pushes and stuff. But additionally deeply irritating that I wasn’t on the within with the each day machinations happening and with the ability to immediately impression. Hopefully we impacted from the skin, however I do miss being on the within at instances.

Bluey: Let’s discuss in regards to the work that you just’re doing at Advancing American Freedom. You’ve gotten the Freedom Agenda. It covers a variety of public coverage points, issues that you just wish to see conservatives embrace. Inform us about the way it was created and a few of the issues that our listeners can discover in it.

Teller: To start with, thanks to Heritage and [Heritage Foundation President] Kevin Roberts for internet hosting our founder, Mike Pence, a couple of months in the past to speak in regards to the Freedom Agenda proper right here at Heritage. I’m very grateful for that.

We thought if now we have a gaggle known as Advancing American Freedom, we higher have an agenda for the way you advance American freedom. So we principally went to the motion. We went to the conservative motion.

At the very least 50 or extra conservative leaders immediately had been requested, “Hey, what would you place right into a freedom agenda?” And plenty of extra, we simply bought concepts from simply by not directly listening and listening to what issues had been being mentioned and promoted.

We aggregated the concepts, as we mentioned, from Reagan to Trump, what’s labored, possibly omitted what hasn’t labored or what’s a bit passé, and simply put all of it collectively in these three buckets of American tradition, American alternative, and American management as a highway map for how one can restore freedom in America.

Bluey: Within the curiosity of full disclosure, you talked to folks at The Heritage Basis. I do know Jessica Anderson is in your advisory board. She’s the chief director of Heritage Motion for America. One of many issues that separates this from so many different agendas which may exist is the truth that you had it crowdsourced and collaborative spirit that went into it.

Teller: We’re actually happy with that as a result of I believe you’re proper, many different agendas, this isn’t to insult another agenda, however simply to level out that ours was not one thing that we sat round three, 4 of us in a closed, darkish room. We actually requested everyone, genuinely bought their opinions, and genuinely included issues that they steered, after which put their names proper within the doc.

So you may go to advancingamericanfreedom.com, discover the Freedom Agenda, and you would even see on there the names of the principle contributors to it. And so we’re simply actually proud that it was type of an aggregated product that means.

Bluey: You launched the Freedom Agenda when Democrats managed each homes of Congress and President Biden within the White Home. We’ve since had an election the place voters put Republicans again answerable for the U.S. Home of Representatives. How do you need to see the Freedom Agenda enacted? What are a few of the motion steps that go into ensuring that the insurance policies you define are applied?

Teller: Nice query. I recognize it. Two issues. One, we’re going to advertise the Freedom Agenda in its entirety, type of renew the promotion of it, go across the Hill, remind of us that it’s there, inform the brand new members that it’s there who might not be accustomed to it. We met with a few of them simply yesterday, handed every considered one of them personally a Freedom Agenda, advised them about it.

And two, we began this sequence we’re calling “Way forward for Freedom,” which is principally saying, “Sure, now we have a freedom agenda, which, after all, is a whole lot of detailed coverage prescriptions, however how will we put them into motion?” And so, this future freedom sequence goes to type of be spinoffs of the Freedom Agenda by situation space.

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The one we did [last] week was power, simply launched it, and principally saying, “Listed here are the payments that both exist already or that ought to exist that might put the Freedom Agenda, rules of freedom into motion.”

Bluey: That’s nice. And also you talked in regards to the federal effort, however I additionally know that there’s a lot exercise occurring on the state degree. How can they take a few of the ideas that you just’ve put collectively and possibly apply them in their very own state?

Teller: That’s a fantastic level. Simply actually at this time we had been huddling within the employees workplace to speak about how will we get it higher understood within the states, higher seen within the states. It hasn’t been as uncovered there.

I believe what we’re going to be doing is, moreover a direct marketing campaign to our allies in varied state legislatures and conservative suppose tanks round city, across the states, we simply need to ensure that of us are conscious that the Freedom Agenda is written, initially, in plain English. So in different phrases, you don’t should be some Washington swamp creature to grasp it. We averted any of that kind of language in order that common regular Individuals can use it.

But additionally, we wrote it in a means the place the rules may apply to your particular state and your particular occasion, possibly your particular legislative course of. It’s not written for Washington the place it solely applies to the U.S. Congress, that type of factor. So we’ll be speaking extra about that. However yeah, we very a lot need to ensure that it’s used all through the 50 states.

Bluey: Let’s discuss a few of the particular insurance policies. Out of your vantage level, what do you see as the most important alternatives, each possibly that align with the pursuits of Americans proper now, but in addition, the place there is likely to be some momentum within the conservative motion?

Teller: It’s fascinating as a result of I believe what’s been upsetting, if you’ll, to a whole lot of conservatives is to see what number of of our fellow Individuals had been keen to surrender their freedoms throughout COVID, for instance, that freedom isn’t essentially within the bloodstream of lots of our fellow residents, sadly.

So we’ve taken it upon ourselves as a company and thru this Freedom Agenda to say, “Right here’s what freedom is. Right here’s why it’s vital.” We began with the “why.” I believe that’s one other level of distinction. The agenda that we’ve put ahead doesn’t simply say, “Move these 10 payments.” And there’s agendas that will try this, and that’s wonderful. We discuss, “What’s freedom? Why does it matter? Why does it enrich the human soul and the human situation?” After which discuss how that interprets into each day life.

So I believe a few of the points that we get into, and actually get into nearly each main situation you may consider, however a few of the issues which can be most vital, the border, which impacts so many different points like our economic system, like schooling. There’s a lot that ripples from, you get the border proper, a few of these different points might be improved as effectively.

However actually simply the whole lot—the economic system to American management and the world stage. Vitality is, once more, one thing we’ve been large on. And naturally, simply signature points for us, as a result of we’re led by Mike Pence, can be the pro-life situation, the spiritual liberty situation, all of these issues now we have particular proposals for.

“We thought if now we have a gaggle known as Advancing American Freedom, we higher have an agenda for the way you advance American freedom,” says Paul Teller, government director of Advancing American Freedom. (Picture: Michael Brochstein/Getty Pictures)

Bluey: And naturally, with the March for Life arising [this Friday], a signature occasion yearly that brings pro-lifers to Washington, D.C., and Vice President Pence, when he was serving in that function, clearly performed a big effort by way of getting President Trump extra energetic and concerned in that neighborhood. Thanks to him for the whole lot he’s achieved for the pro-life motion.

Teller: Actually recognize it. It’s a nice honor, and he takes nice delight in that. However once more, he additionally was all the time giving credit score to the president the place it was due as a result of, in the end, it was the president that was main the administration. However sure, I believe the power behind lots of the pro-life initiatives, the spiritual liberty initiatives, different associated such gadgets, the power got here from Mike Pence.

Bluey: One of many different issues that you just do at Advancing American Freedom is a good venture known as the Biden Accountability Tracker. I believe it’s so distinctive as a result of I don’t see a whole lot of different folks doing what you’re doing right here.

Teller: I recognize it. And once more, with this and so many different issues we’re speaking about at this time, advancingamericanfreedom.com is the web site. It’s all on there.

The Biden Accountability Tracker truly began simply firstly of our time proper after the White Home, early 2021. We simply mentioned, after we had been within the White Home, “We want we had had a greater working record of all of the successes that now we have had, all of the coverage prescriptions that we’re placing out, that we had been successful, that had been conservative and issues like that.”

And so we simply type of flipped that and mentioned, “Now that it’s Biden-Harris in cost, let’s begin a working record in actual time of all of the issues that they’re doing which can be undoing freedom, which can be undoing the coverage successes of the Trump-Pence years, and that I simply suppose are dangerous for America.”

And so we simply began it type of informally in a Microsoft Phrase doc and somebody, possibly a couple of folks, mentioned, “You bought to place this on the market. Let or not it’s one thing that Individuals can see in use.”

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So once more, it’s on our web site, advancingamericanfreedom.com. And what makes it totally different is we don’t simply monitor the massive issues that possibly you’re seeing on a Fox Information breaking information alert, however even a few of the smaller issues, an government order that’s issued, a steering letter that’s issued to the companies. We dig down and say, “There’s a whole lot of horrible stuff happening, and we’re going to publicize it and monitor it for you.”

Bluey: It actually began on Day One of many Biden administration. We noticed, notably, you talked about the border earlier, undoing a whole lot of the profitable Trump-Pence initiatives that actually put the border disaster below management, and now it’s exploded. … Such as you say, it’s very detailed. It gives large info,

Teller: We would like it to be interactive, that means, in case your listeners have concepts, possibly we missed one thing, possibly there’s one thing, we addressed a sure doc, however we missed Part Three of it, and we should always actually spotlight that, tell us. Please inform us. Or they will inform you and you would tell us as a result of we need to guarantee that we’re actually capturing the whole lot in that doc that we may presumably put.

Former Vice President Mike Pence, founding father of Advancing American Freedom, spoke at The Heritage Basis in October about his group’s “Freedom Agenda.” (Picture: Erin Granzow for The Heritage Basis)

Bluey: Vice President Pence is so energetic, touring the nation, delivering speeches, whether or not or not it’s on a university campus or one other venue, all the time on tv. He’s energetic on social media. How are you working with him to guarantee that extra Individuals hear in regards to the Freedom Agenda and different issues which can be happening in your universe?

Teller: That’s such a blessing, to have him as our founder, due to simply what a implausible amplifier he’s. I imply, something he does or says, it simply will get large information, will get large consideration. He’s getting large crowds at occasions, all the time type of forcing us so as to add seats within the again or create an overflow room at occasions. It’s simply actually implausible.

He’s based mostly in Indiana, he and his spouse, and simply is continually flying all around the nation, frankly, all around the world. He’s been in another country as effectively. Simply sharing the message of freedom, speaking in regards to the Freedom Agenda particularly, a few of the concepts, however once more, speaking and touting these successes of the Trump-Pence years, these implausible coverage successes, so lots of which have, sadly, both already been undone or weakened or made secondary to the Biden-Harris radical liberal agenda. So he’s on the market telling the story, constructing alliances and collaborations wherever he can.

Bluey: Let’s discuss some present occasions. Having served within the White Home, there’s a whole lot of information about these labeled paperwork that President Biden’s attorneys have lately found. Looks as if a double commonplace right here, Paul.

Teller: Certain is.

Bluey: What are you able to inform us about how the media treats this story, as a result of they’re not giving it practically the eye that they gave tales about President Trump, but in addition out of your perspective, having been on the within, what do you suppose we have to do as conservatives to maintain the highlight on Biden?

Teller: It’s a fantastic level. I believe what we’re attempting to say from Advancing American Freedom is we must be a rustic of legal guidelines, the rule of regulation. And that’s all through the Freedom Agenda.

And I believe that is but one different instance in our unlucky latest historical past of some folks being handled a method, some folks being handled different methods. Extra particularly, conservatives or Republicans are given sure remedy that liberals and Democrats aren’t given, given possibly a lighter remedy. That’s the whole lot from on Large Tech, when conservatives are shadow banned, frankly, it’s even the border.

Does anybody suppose that if Democrats thought that the oldsters illegally pouring throughout the southern border had been all changing into Republicans, that they’d be in favor of this open border? I imply, let’s be actual.

So it’s that totally different remedy that I believe we are going to proceed to focus on. We clearly don’t know all of the info of what’s happening. It’s the growing story with Biden, however we are going to preserve mentioning that this must as soon as once more be a nation of legal guidelines and other people must be handled equally below the regulation.

Bluey: To not decide on our associates within the media an excessive amount of, however one of many issues that lately irritated me was the commentary that you just heard about Home conservatives, and never solely their principled opposition to [Speaker] Kevin McCarthy over some points, but in addition simply the truth that it was making a scene of chaos on the Home flooring, when in reality, they achieved some reforms that actually simply undid the ability seize of Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi. Again whenever you had been serving within the Home, a few of these issues had been pretty commonplace. It was Pelosi who applied them.

So going ahead, whether or not it pertains to the Freedom Agenda or simply normally relating to the appropriation course of or common order within the Home, what are you most looking forward to on this specific Republican-controlled Home?

Teller: I believe what the occasions, if you’ll, of the speaker’s race actually confirmed is that conservatives can use their leverage for good, for coverage wins, and much more importantly, for course of and structural wins. As a result of that’s what I believe the 20 actually bought out of this complete course of.

Right here’s the factor, it wasn’t that simply the 20 bought it. Actually, the entire Home bought it. Which means, the rank and file have been empowered by way of this course of. So I believe it does present that if conservatives consider in one thing and stand for it and demand on it, there’s a win available. And that win gained’t simply come to the folks pushing it, nevertheless it involves the bigger physique or hopefully, even higher, all of America.

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Bluey: You suppose we’ll see a optimistic step within the route of extra fiscal accountability relating to the Home now that now we have a few of these reforms in place?

Teller: I believe so. Rely me as possibly barely cynical simply due to my historical past working within the Home and Senate. However fortuitously, it does sound like Speaker McCarthy has made guarantees that we’ll preserve spending below management. And one such factor is even simply bringing separate appropriations payments to the Home flooring, I believe, ought to assist with that within the sense that it’s going to permit for extra alternatives to take away wasteful spending, to scale back spending. There’s extra targets to shoot at. Whereas when you’ve that type of singular omnibus appropriations invoice fairly often involves the Home flooring with out the power to even amend it, there’s simply fewer issues to shoot at.

Paul Teller, government director of Advancing American Freedom, beforehand served as chief of employees to Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and government director of the Republican Research Committee within the U.S. Home. (Picture courtesy of Paul Teller)

Bluey: That’s proper. And one of many vital agreements that he made was a vote on the Republican Research Committee price range, which, having beforehand served for the RSC, you recognize about it. So why is that important? What does the RSC contribute, out of your perspective, that possibly others in Congress don’t essentially take into perspective once they’re placing collectively a price range?

Teller: Traditionally, and has all the time been the RSC price range, type of the conservative highway map to a balanced price range, to a restored constitutional order in America. In different phrases, it wasn’t simply, “Hey, let’s minimize spending on random stuff.” It was, “How will we weed out from federal spending, from the federal price range the issues that both aren’t constitutional or constitutionally questionable, or simply inappropriate for the federal authorities to be spending on? And even whether it is acceptable to be spending on, possibly we’re spending an excessive amount of on it, that we may dial it again.”

And so nobody higher than the RSC to place ahead that highway map. So getting a vote on it’s placing of us on document saying, “Will we need to transfer in a extra constitutional route in America? Will we need to scale back spending? Will we need to scale back the debt or will we not? And who particularly says ‘sure’ and ‘no’ to the totally different choices?” So it’s a worthwhile vote. I hope they get it.

Bluey: Paul, I need to shut with a brief story after which simply get your tackle what it was prefer to be a member of the Trump-Pence group there throughout these outstanding 4 years.

Teller: Completely.

Bluey: It was August of 2020, and the White Home press corps didn’t have anyone that was capable of go on a visit with Vice President Pence. They might usually have someone who was the pool reporter who would journey alongside the vice chairman. And when no reporter volunteered for that function, they contacted me. They usually requested if I might come alongside because the journey. I’d be the pool reporter and principally ship a blow by blow of the whole lot that might occur from the time that we boarded Air Drive Two to the time we had been on the bottom in Tampa.

You had been alongside me on that journey. And also you’ll keep in mind that a reporter from The New York Occasions didn’t notably [like] the truth that The Each day Sign had been given this accountability. Nevertheless it was only one glimpse that I had into what a outstanding expertise it will need to have been to serve in a job like yours. What was it prefer to have that have all through your time within the White Home?

Teller: To start with, thanks. And it was a fantastic honor to have you ever on Air Drive Two that day. It was a fantastic day. The reality is, to correctly reply that query, we would wish one other 20 minutes, which we don’t have. However yeah, the in need of it’s only a large honor.

Each single day I might be a kind of guys strolling round simply type of tilting my head left and simply saying, “I can not consider I get to work right here. I can not consider I get to simply present my badge and so they open the gate for me. I imply, that is loopy. That is me. Do they know they’re letting me within the door right here? That is insane.”

However yeah, simply large honor, together with proper as much as my final day. I keep in mind I used to be actually packing my desk and the very last thing I did was I simply walked the whole White Home campus, wherever I used to be legally allowed to go. I simply went and simply stopped and regarded and considered various things that occurred, not even simply throughout our administration, however traditionally all through the 200 years or in order that the White Home had been the house of the president, and simply actually soaked all of it in as a result of it was an amazing honor.

Bluey: Paul Teller, thanks a lot for the work you’re doing at Advancing American Freedom. Give our greatest to Vice President Pence and thank him for championing so many vital conservative points.

Teller: Completely. He’s grateful to your alliance each institutionally and personally, Rob, and we’ll be in good contact all the time.

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