GOP Picks Budget Hawk Ryan to Respond to Obama's State of Union Address

Jan. 4: Incoming House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., arrives for a closed GOP conference on Capitol Hill.

Jan. 4: Incoming House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., arrives for a closed GOP conference on Capitol Hill.  (AP2011)

Rep. Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, will deliver the Republican speech following President Obama’s State of the Union address on Tuesday, party leaders announced Friday.

House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said they chose the Wisconsin Republican because he will play a key role in the GOP drive to cut federal spending this year. 

"Paul Ryan is uniquely qualified to address the state of our economy and the fiscal challenges that face our country," Boehner said in a statement. "We're broke, and decisive action is needed to help our economy get back to creating jobs and end the spending binge in Washington that threatens our children's future. I'm pleased that Paul will be outlining a common-sense vision for moving our country forward."

"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," McConnell said in a statement. 

"Chairman Ryan's unique understanding of the fiscal problems we face, his command of policy, and his adherence to the principles of our nation's founding make him an excellent spokesman for the path that Americans want Washington to take," McConnell added.

Obama will deliver the State of the Union address Tuesday night before a joint session of Congress and a national television audience.

Ryan became chairman of the Budget Committee earlier this month. During his tenure in Congress, he has consistently sought to reduce federal spending and rein in the cost of benefit programs such as Social Security and Medicare.

Ryan expressed gratitude to his party's leaders for picking him to deliver the address.

"I am hopeful that the president will work with the new House majority to cut spending, reform government, and restore the foundations for growth and job creation," he said in a statement. "More than rhetoric, we need results. I look forward to outlining a vision for a future that fulfills the uniquely American legacy of leaving the next generation with a stronger, more prosperous nation."