Ryan takes over House budget; Headed for showdown on spending
Rep. Paul Ryan is now chairman of the House committee in charge of writing a federal budget.
Rep. Paul Ryan took over the House of Representatives' budget-writing committee this week. It makes Ryan one of the most powerful politicians in the country and puts him in position to push spending cuts he says will help the federal government's long-term budget picture. Here's Ryan in the news over the last week:
The 40-year-old Ryan, known as a "Young Gun" in the Republican party, suddenly finds himself something of an old man. At least three representatives who are 34 or younger took office this week. But Ryan is still remarkably young for the powerful position he assumes as the architect of the Republican budget. He's 28 years younger than the Democrat he replaced as chair of the House Budget Committee.
A new legislative rule will give Ryan himself the power to set spending limits for the House budget in 2011.
Showdown with Dems
Ryan and other Republicans are heading to a showdown with President Obama and the Democrats over the federal government's debt ceiling. The government will need to increase how much it borrows this spring to continue paying its bills, but Republicans intend to use the typically mundane issue to force spending cuts or shut down government.
Ryan may get his wish to radically overhaul Medicare. Retiring Baby Boomers are stressing the health care system, which provides insurance to millions of retired Americans.