After nearly 25 years in Congress, John Spratt (D-SC) is at the pinnacle of his career as House Budget Committee Chairman.
The House of Representatives passed a $3 trillion blueprint for federal spending by a narrow margin this week. Rep. John Spratt of South Carolina, chairman of the House Budget Committee, led the effort.
Spratt is a Democrat from a conservative district, a man others see as the consummate legislator.
The self-described "budget hawk" even likes to take old congressional budget reports to read on vacation, says committee staff director Thomas Kahn.
Spratt's South Carolina district covers a large swath of rural countryside in the north-central part of the state. It's home to Shaw Air Force Base and includes some suburbs of Charlotte and Columbia.
South Carolina's tobacco farmers and textile workers have been hit hard by a changing economy and, despite Spratt's talk of needing to cut the deficit, he admits that the small towns he represents depend on federal dollars for everything from retaining jobs to maintaining interstates.
Though some have tried to convince him to run for higher office, Spratt is enjoying his newfound clout as budget chairman.
"We didn't realize how glum we were as Democrats until we finally got back on top," Spratt said. "But now that we are on top .... it's very satisfying and I'm very content to keep doing what I'm doing."