The Washington Times - January 21, 2011, 11:57AM

Republicans said Friday they have tapped House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan to deliver the GOP’s official response to President Obama’s State of the Union address next week.

Picking Mr. Ryan signals that Republicans, who have spent the first month of the new Congress focusing on repealing health care, are ready to pivot to their broader spending-cuts agenda. In the run-up to the speech, Republican leaders have repeatedly challenged Mr. Obama to present a specific set of deep cuts.

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Mr. Ryan, a seven-term congressman from Wisconsin, is best known for producing his “Roadmap for America’s Future,” proposal for cutting spending and putting the federal budget on sounder footing. Mr. Ryan’s willingness to put forward a plan has drawn praise from Democrats, including Mr. Obama, though they are quick to say they disagree with many of his decisions.

Mr. Ryan also was one of the members of Mr. Obama’s deficit commission who blocked their final report from being submitted to Congress. Mr. Ryan said the plan didn’t go far enough in controlling future health care costs.