Wisconsin Republican Rep. Paul Ryan will deliver the Republican response to President Obama’s State of the Union address on Jan. 25, Republican leaders announced Friday.
“Paul Ryan has spent the better part of the last two years explaining exactly why the Democrat agenda has been so bad for jobs and the economy, and why we need to ditch the government-driven approach in favor of creative, common-sense solutions that put the American people back in charge,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in a statement.
House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio said that Ryan was “qualified to address the state of our economy and the fiscal challenges that face our country.”
Ryan, who is chairman of the powerful House Budget Committee, has positioned himself as a leader among the younger Republican members, and helped start the party’s “Young Guns” program that trains other new members with Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia and Whip Kevin McCarthy of California.
The selection of Ryan is a clear signal that the House GOP leadership intends for the State of the Union to be a showdown of visions for the future of the country. Ryan often talks of how he believes the nation is nearing a tipping point where more of its citizens will be dependent on the government than on themselves. And while many conservatives often mouth such rhetoric, Ryan is able to churn out numbers and policy detail to back up his claim. Ryan last year released an ambitious budget proposal called the “Roadmap for America’s Future,” which outlined a series of severe cuts to the federal government.
This will be the first time a House member has delivered the official response alone since Missouri Democratic Rep. Richard Gephardt gave the official Democratic response to former President George W. Bush’s speech in 2002. California Democratic Rep. Nancy Pelosi joined Sens. Tom Daschle of South Dakota and Harry Reid of Nevada in 2004 and 2005, respectively.
The Tuesday State of the Union will the second of Obama’s presidency.