Ryan latest in long line of VP candidates from conservative House caucus

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While many presidential candidates head to the convention podium with an Ivy League degree in their back pockets, a majority of Republican vice presidential candidates in the last 24 years have come with a common qualification on their resumes.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney‘s selection of Wisconsin Republican Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate continued a trend of Republican vice presidential candidates with resumes boasting former and, now with Ryan, current membership, in the Republican Study Committee (RSC).

Six of the last seven presidential elections, and four of the last five tickets have featured RSC vice presidential candidates — former Vice President Dan Quayle (1988 and 1992), former Housing Secretary Jack Kemp (1996), former Vice President Dick Cheney (2000 and 2004), and now Ryan (2012). Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin in 2008 was the one anomaly in that 24 year trend.

The caucus exists as pressure group to push the House Republican conference in a more conservative direction. Membership is often considered a mark of conservatism.

Ryan reportedly joined RSC during his first term in Congress. While the GOP vice presidential candidate is already shaping the debate, according to RSC, he has been an influential figure in the currently 170-member strong group focused “advancing a conservative social and economic agenda in the House of Representatives.”

“Paul Ryan is a great pick,” RSC Chairman Jim Jordan said in a statement to TheDC. “There is no one better at making the case for what needs to be done to put America back on the right path.”

While the group has offered alternatives to Ryan’s budget, RSC explained to TheDC that Ryan’s ideas have helped shaped RSC proposals for tax reform, Medicaid, Medicare, spending, and at least one House rules change.

  • RSC pushed for Ryan’s Taxpayer Choice Act of 2007 — which would have reformed the tax code into two rates with limited deductions and served as an alternative to the current code — and used it as a model for the tax reforms in the Jobs Through Growth Act RSC unveiled last year.
  • The group further notes that Ryan’s Roadmap for America’s Future in 2008 and his House budget ideas to turn Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) into block grants were the inspiration for RSC’s The State Health Flexibility Act, introduced this year.
  • RSC — which usually seeks a more conservative approach than the official budgets that come out of the House — incorporated the Ryan budget Medicare proposals unaltered into RSC’s most recent budget proposal. Indeed, in 2007 and 2008 RSC adopted the proposals from Ryan and the Budget Committee, in lieu of offering their own alternatives.
  • Ryan’s 2008 effort to pass a Constitutional amendment to limit spending to a set percentage of GDP was incorporated into the “cap” portion of the group’s “Cut, Cap, and Balance Act.”
  • The group further praised Ryan for his (eventually unsuccessful) efforts to strengthen a House rule backed by RSC to put funds cut from appropriations bills into “Spending Reduction Accounts” as a way to ensure cut money was not spent elsewhere.

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