By Russell Berman - 12/18/12 06:19 PM EST
Conservative Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) has been named vice chairman of the House Budget Committee, a post that makes him an influential deputy to the party’s budget chief, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).
“It will be a privilege to work with Chairman Paul Ryan and the fellow members of the committee during the 113th Congress to help correct the fiscal course of our nation,” Price said in a statement announcing the move.
“We face a very serious and growing debt crisis, and the current spending habits in Washington are simply unsustainable. This requires that we do what is necessary to balance our budget and pay down our national debt while helping to encourage economic growth through common sense tax reform.”
Price, a former chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee, won Ryan’s support in the race for conference chair. The move to a top spot on the budget panel could position him to replace Ryan as the chairman in two years.
Ryan last month earned a rare waiver to serve a fourth term as the committee’s top Republican after serving as Mitt Romney’s vice presidential running mate during the 2012 campaign. Ryan is widely believed to be eyeing the chairmanship of the House Ways and Means Committee in 2014. He is also seen as a front-runner for the GOP’s presidential nomination in 2016.
Earlier this month, an article in the National Review floated Price’s name as a possible challenger to Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), but Price quickly issued a statement saying he was not running for the Speakership.