Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), the new chairman of the House Budget Committee,… (Jay Mallin / Bloomberg )
WASHINGTON – Republicans have tapped Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan to deliver the party's response to President Obama's State of the Union address on Tuesday, party officials said Friday.
The choice of Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, is meant to signal the party's commitment to deficit reduction, the officials said. Ryan will deliver the GOP response from the Budget Committee's hearing room.
"Paul Ryan is uniquely qualified to address the state of our economy and the fiscal challenges that face our country," Speaker of the House John 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."
For Obama's first two addresses to a joint session of Congress, Republicans chose governors to deliver the response – first Louisiana's Bobby Jindal, and in 2010, Virginia's Bob McDonnell. The tradition of the opposition party delivering a formal response dates back to 1966.
Ryan, 40, has represented Wisconsin's 1st Congressional District since 1999. He was a member of Obama's bipartisan fiscal commission, but voted against the panel's final recommendations.
Obama is scheduled to travel to Wisconsin on Wednesday in a post-speech barnstorming trip.