A nightmare scenario looms for Paul Ryan if Hillary Clinton wins the White House: Bernie Sanders could become chairman of the Senate Budget Committee.
Sanders has been the ranking member since 2015 for the committee, the entity responsible for drafting and monitoring Congress' annual budget plan. If the Democrats take the Senate this election cycle, chairing the group could provide the Vermont Senator with an important platform for his ideas, though the likelihood that Republicans will hold the House casts doubt on whether he might be able to enact much change.
House Speaker Ryan warned of such a possibility earlier this month while addressing a group of college Republicans in Madison, Wisconsin. "If we lose the Senate, do you know who becomes chair of the Senate Budget Committee? A guy named Bernie Sanders. You ever heard of him?" he said.
Sanders cited Ryan's comments in a fundraising blast, helping him to to raise nearly $2 million for several down-ballot candidates in two days. Democrats have been needling Ryan over his comments -- online progressive group MoveOn.org released a Halloween-themed video recently poking fun at the Speaker.
If Sanders becomes chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, he is likely to focus on many of the same issues that have been at the center of his political career and were the focus of his presidential campaign -- wealth inequality, entitlement expansion and a fairer tax code.
Sanders, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, is not the only senator positioned to assume a leadership role should the Democrats win a majority.