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In late January 2017, President Donald Trump and Vice-President Mike Pence hired Paul Teller as Special Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs, with a focus on Senate and House conservatives. His primary focus is the Senate Steering Committee's Executive Committee, the House Freedom Caucus, and the leadership of the House Republican Study Committee. He'll also work with coalitions and key leaders of the Conservative Movement to sustain and build on his extensive conservative network that he developed over the previous quarter-century in national politics. Teller is the former Chief of Staff for Senator Ted Cruz and former Executive Director of the United States House of Representatives Republican Study Committee. Teller was described in a Washington Post profile as “one of the most influential conservative aides in Congress.” As a result of actions he and his subordinates took during the 2011 U.S. debt ceiling crisis, Republican members of the House of Representatives chanted "fire him, fire him" during a Republican Conference meeting the morning of July 27, 2011. In a profile published shortly following Teller's appointment to be Sen. Cruz's Chief of Staff, The Hill described Teller as "Cruz's agitator in chief."
Raised on Long Island, he graduated from Duke University in 1993 with a B.A. in Political Science and earned his Ph.D. in the same from American University in 1999.
Capitol Hill career
After receiving his doctorate, Teller became a professional staff member for the Committee on House Administration under Rep. Bill Thomas. In 2001, he became legislative director for the Republican Study Committee, later rising to deputy director and executive director.
In 2012, Paul Teller was named one of Roll Call's "Fabulous 50," a list which highlights Capitol Hill’s leading Democratic and Republican staffers. Roll Call selected him in particular for his "Mastery," awarded to the Hill’s policy and procedural experts, and "Spin," given to Congress’ best communicators who help set the tone and frame the debate.
In 2014, Teller joined the Board of Advisors of the National Federation of Republican Assemblies. He is a member of the Council for National Policy.
2011 U.S. debt crisis controversy
Teller was involved in controversy during the 2011 U.S. debt ceiling crisis when, in July 2011, he and his subordinates reportedly emailed several conservative groups to urge the groups to lobby against a plan put forward by Speaker of the House John Boehner. After the emails were discussed at a Republican conference meeting on July 27, 2011, which Teller attended, members of the conference chanted "fire him, fire him". Anonymous Republican staff members criticized Teller for what they described as his "aggressive language and willingness to attack Republicans," while another anonymous senior GOP aide argued that "coordinating on message and revving up conservative activists is not, in and of itself, a bad thing."
On December 11, 2013, it was reported that Teller had been fired by RSC Chairman Steve Scalise. Conservative leaders were outraged and quickly issued a statement in support of Paul Teller.
Chief of Staff for Ted Cruz
In early 2014, Senator Ted Cruz hired Paul Teller as his new deputy chief of staff. Sen. Cruz stated that "Paul's many years of experience working in Congress and his tireless work to advance conservative principles make him a tremendous addition to our team." On September 10, 2014, Senator Cruz announced that Teller would take over the role of Chief of Staff following former Chief of Staff Chip Roy's transition from the Senator's federal office to take on the role of senior advisor for the Senator's political operations.