And it comes in the form of Rep. Tom Price. Slight of build, with frameless glasses and what appears to be a mild demeanor, the new chairman of the House Budget Committee may not initially look like much of a threat. But looks can be deceiving, and it would not be wise to underestimate the Republican from Georgia.
The prestigious and important post he now occupies was most recently held by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., who has moved on to chair the House Ways and Means Committee. Together, these committees shepherd through the taxation (revenue) and spending bills of the House of Representatives.
Government spending and taxes -- aren't they controlled by the president?
Well, no. The president gets to submit his budget wish list to the legislative branch (House and Senate), but the U.S. Constitution mandates that all bills that raise money through taxes and borrowing and then spend that money must originate in the House of Representatives. This is by design. House members are elected every two years. Senators, with the president, are elected every four years. Therefore, the will of the House members should most closely reflect the will of the people. The bills begin in the House, and then move to the Senate and finally make their way to the president's desk.
On the Senate side, the budget process is being led by Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., the ranking member on the Senate Budget Committee, and Thad Cochran, R-Miss., the chairman of the Appropriations Committee.
The first shot over the bow this Congressional session was the passage of a House rule. While it may sound boring and mundane -- it set the stage for high drama. Any estimate of major legislation "requires the Congressional Budget Office and Joint Committee on Taxation, to the extent practicable, to incorporate the macroeconomic effects of 'major legislation' into the official cost estimates used for enforcing the budget resolution and the other rules of the House," according to the House Budget Committee website.
This means that any legislation that is expected to increase economic growth will be reflected in the forward-looking analysis.