Heritage Action has tapped House speaker Paul Ryan to deliver the keynote address at its third annual policy summit next Wednesday, February 3, according to an agenda obtained by National Review.
“Speaker Ryan intends to address the opportunities we have to unite the conservative movement around big ideas to save the American idea,” Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong confirms.
The political arm of the conservative Heritage Foundation arranges the bicameral summit to spearhead conversations on the direction of the conservative movement and its political priorities. Since such conversations are likely to focus heavily on the issues central to Ryan’s newly announced 2016 agenda, the event presents a golden opportunity for the speaker to garner support for his vision of the House.
The summit also takes place as House members ready for listening sessions on the twelve appropriations bills that leadership has pledged to pass through regular order this year, offering an early window into the kinds of amendments behind which conservatives are likely to rally.
Ryan’s appearance at the summit highlights a remarkably rapid thaw in relations between Heritage Action and House Republican leaders. The group maintained a vocal distrust of John Boehner for the majority of his speakership — he was never invited to the policy summit — but has appeared more optimistic about Ryan since he assumed the gavel, largely because of his willingness to court conservatives and commit to offering a conservative legislative agenda in advance of the GOP convention.
“He’s conservative — folks know that,” says one leadership aide. “He was an obvious choice to lead this.”
#share#At the summit, Ryan will appear alongside other prominent Capitol Hill conservatives: His address will be followed by Iowa senator Joni Ernst’s remarks on national security, and will precede later appearances by North Carolina representative Mark Walker, scheduled to discuss civil society, and Nebraska senator Ben Sasse, who will deliver his own address on economic mobility.
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In addition to Ryan, Ernst, Walker, and Sasse, the summit will feature a bevy of influential conservative lawmakers and journalists discussing the topics that have largely defined Congress for the last year. In a panel moderated by The Weekly Standard’s Fred Barnes, House Freedom Caucus leaders Jim Jordan, Mick Mulvaney, Raul Labrador, and Mark Meadows will discuss how the Freedom Caucus is “changing the game for conservatives.” The Federalist’s Ben Domenech will moderate a panel on the future of the Senate filibuster, the procedural tool that has long stymied conservative legislation from moving past the House, featuring House Judiciary Committee chairman Bob Goodlatte and Utah senator Mike Lee.
Other Republican lawmakers scheduled to participate in the summit include Republican Study Committee chairman Bill Flores, Representatives Dave Brat, Ron DeSantis, Marlin Stutzman, and Ken Buck, and Senators Jeff Flake and James Lankford.
— Elaina Plott is a William F. Buckley Fellow in Political Journalism at the National Review Institute.