Budget Chairman Tom Price hasn't officially declared his candidacy for majority leader, but two high-profile endorsements Monday sent as clear a signal as any that the Georgia Republican is in the game.
Ways and Means Chairman and 2012 vice presidential candidate Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., released a statement Monday afternoon in praise of Price, who was previously Ryan's vice chairman on the Budget panel. “Tom Price is a committed conservative and a good friend. He and I have served for years together on the Budget and Ways and Means Committees, working to pay down our debt, fix our tax code, and grow our economy," Ryan said. "Tom has a proven record of advancing conservative solutions and principles. He has the knowledge and skills needed to be an effective Majority Leader, and I’m proud to support him.”
A few hours earlier, Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, also threw his support behind Price.
Both Ryan and Hensarling were briefly courted by conservatives to run for the top House GOP leadership positions that will become open at the end of October , when Speaker John A. Boehner resigns.
In backing the Georgia Republican, the two lawmakers have positioned Price as a legitimate conservative alternative to Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., and Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., both of whom are also running for majority leader with the expectation that the current majority leader, Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., wins his race to succeed Boehner.
(Incidentally, Price and McMorris Rodgers last faced off for the Republican Conference chairmanship in 2012, a contest in which McMorris Rodgers prevailed.)
Dates for leadership elections have not been set, but the conference will meet in a special session Tuesday evening to "discuss the strategy moving forward," according to guidance sent out to members Monday.
Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Ill., who is eyeing a leadership bid of his own, had been pushing for such a meeting , though McMorris Rodgers' spokeswoman and deputy chief of staff told CQ Roll Call the chairwoman had already been planning a similar forum.