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Incoming House Budget Chairman Hopes for Legislative Gains in New GOP Congress

Price succeeds Ryan as chairman of the House Budget Committee next year. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Tom Price might not have the same star power as Rep. Paul D. Ryan.  

But the Georgia Republican, who's stepping in to replace his Wisconsin colleague as chairman of the House Budget Committee, could end up having the kind of tangible successes that eluded his predecessor. Price has a big advantage: A Republican-controlled Senate to work alongside the GOP House.  

Price told a small group of reporters Friday morning that he plans to make the most of the partnership to advance conservative principles and pass ambitious legislation. "Having a willing partner is going to change the whole dynamic," Price said at his pen-and-pad briefing.  

For one thing, he said, he hoped that the House and Senate would each pass budgets that can be combined through negotiations in a formal, bicameral conference committee. For the past few years, his predecessor's "Ryan Budget" has served as a key ideological blueprint for Republicans — a party touchstone that catapulted Ryan into the national spotlight as Mitt Romney's 2012 GOP vice presidential running mate.  

With a Democratic Senate, however, there was never much hope of Ryan's ambitious document actually becoming much more than a talking point. But in the 114th, Price said, Senate and House negotiators can work together to produce a more singular vision of how to reign in spending.  

Price said the use of budget reconciliation, a complex and arcane procedural maneuver  that hasn't been used by the GOP since 2005, may be key for Republicans next year.  

Reconciliation would allow for passage of Republican priorities — from repealing parts of the Affordable Care Act to overhauling the nation's tax code — through both chambers without requiring votes from Democrats.  

Price said the joint House and Senate Republican retreat in mid-January would be an opportunity to have serious discussions about when and how to use reconciliation, given that it isn't a gambit that can be used all the time — and it isn't necessarily something that would work for everything.  

"It's a powerful tool ... but it's not a silver bullet," Price said.  

For instance, he said that while conditions for raising the debt ceiling could be leveraged through reconciliation, he was "doubtful" that it would be an effective approach.  

As for whether he thought there was even a remote possibility of cooperation from the White House on budget and spending issues over the next two years, Price said that President Barack Obama's lobbying on behalf of the so-called cromnibus, despite strong opposition from members of his own party, was a positive sign.  

"Hopefully," said Price, "we can build on that."  

   

Related: After Hours of Uncertainty, House Passes ‘Cromnibus’ Obama, Hoyer Split With Pelosi on ‘Cromnibus’ (Video) Lacking Sufficient Support, House GOP Leaders Delay ‘Cromnibus’ Vote The 114th: CQ Roll Call's Guide to the New Congress Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.