The Budget Guru
At a time when fixing the deficit without wrecking the economy is Congress' top priority, Democrats may have to tackle the issue next session without their leading legislative mind to help guide the process. John Spratt, chairman of the House Budget Committee, is a 27-year veteran of the House and widely regarded by his peers as one of its most knowledgeable and effective members of all things fiscal. But he's fending off a challenge from Republican State Sen. Mike Mulvaney, and the anti-incumbent environment may be too strong for an entrenched South Carolina lawmaker to survive. Even his opponent acknowledges Spratt's achievements in his campaign, saying in a recent debate that his goal is to be "the kind of Congressman John Spratt was in 1997" when he worked with the GOP to balance the budget.