Black named interim House Budget Committee chair

House Republicans have named Rep. Diane Black to be interim chairman of the Budget Committee, in a move that Politico reports is aimed at keeping the GOP agenda moving swiftly while current Chairman Tom Price focuses on his nomination to be President-elect Donald Trump’s HHS secretary.

House Speaker Paul Ryan offered the proposal at a House GOP conference meeting Monday night, which he said would allow the Budget Committee to get up and running as quickly as possible, while giving Price the ability to fully prepare for a confirmation gantlet in the Senate, according to Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong.

Upon Price’s confirmation, the Republican Steering Committee would select a permanent chairman. Black, a Tennessee Republican, would seem to have the inside track for the job, though Rep. Todd Rokita (R-Ind.), the vice chairman, is also vying for the post.

The Budget chairman will play a crucial role for the GOP in the coming months, helping to steer controversial efforts to repeal Obamacare and potentially approve a massive tax reform package. That’s because Republicans are planning to use a powerful procedural tool known as budget reconciliation to bypass the Senate’s typical 60-vote threshold and jam through legislation on party-line votes.

 

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