Now that President-elect Donald Trump has selected Georgia Rep. Tom Price to the next secretary of Health and Human Services, chairmanship of the House Budget Committee is up for grabs.
According Politico, the time line is uncertain. Price could keep his gavel until he’s confirmed in early 2017. If he steps aside now, the new chairman would have more time to settle into the post and ready himself for a busy first 100 days of Trump’s presidency.
Several senior Republicans on the Budget committee may want to succeed Price, including the Budget Committee’s vice chairman, Indiana’s Todd Rokita, Oklahoma’s Tom Cole and Florida’s Mario Diaz-Balart. Both of the latter two are Appropriations subcommittee chairmen and also serve as Appropriations liaisons to the Budget panel. California’s Tom McClintock, another possibility, has been in Congress longer than Rokita, as has Cole. Tennessee’s Diane Black could also be a contender for Budget Chair, but The Hill reports Black is expected to run for governor in 2018.
Rokita, said in a statement Tuesday that he will seek the chair if Price is confirmed as secretary of Health and Human Services. The others are keeping their intentions quiet.
The Budget Committee will play a crucial role next year in repealing ObamaCare and moving other GOP legislative priorities through the budget reconciliation process. Under reconciliation, legislation that affects spending or taxes and abides by certain parliamentary rules can be passed with a simple majority in the House and Senate and cannot be filibustered by Senate Democrats.
Next year, when the GOP-led Congress is expected to pass two budgets — a late one for fiscal 2017 and a new one for fiscal 2018 — that will enable Republicans to pass two budget reconciliation bills.
Committee chairmanships are decided by the Republican Conference’s Steering Committee. House Speaker Paul Ryan holds four votes on that panel, giving him substantial power. But a spokeswoman for Ryan, said the Speaker won’t publicly back a candidate for the Budget chairmanship.