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What Is Paul Ryan’s Role During the Fiscal Cliff Negotiations?

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- After 88 days in the spotlight as Mitt Romney's VP pick, Paul Ryan has stepped into the shadows (specifically, hometown Janesville, Wisc.) for the five-day House break – but that doesn't mean he's not taking phone calls and answering emails.

The topic of course is the fiscal cliff. He's the House budget chairman and the man many thought may come in as the new leader in the House, perhaps even his beleaguered Republican Party. During the campaign, he pushed cutting spending and stressed entitlement reform, despite the political risks.

The day after the election, House Speaker John Boehner, the man now at the center of the negotiations with President Obama, called Ryan, according to a Boehner aide, because the speaker wanted "to make sure he was in the fold from Day One," adding he's been a "close part of the thought process."

And an aide to Ryan, who asked that his name not be used, says the role of the Wisconsin congressman is as a "resource to the speaker, a resource to House Republicans."

"He has responsibilities as the House budget chairman, he has responsibilities to the first district of Wisconsin. He needed to be where the fight is," added the aide. Nevertheless he wants to be "deferential" to those leading the conversation -- namely Boehner, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy. Since the lame duck session began, Ryan has attended the daily leadership meetings that Boehner, Cantor, McCarthy, and chairman of the House Republican Conference Cathy McMorris-Rodgers attend. Ryan -- along with Michigan Rep. Dave Camp, who leads the Ways and Means Committee, and Michigan Rep. Fred Upton, who heads the Energy and Commerce Committee -- is new to these daily meetings.

"It is a daily group conversation about what our positions should be and where they think we should be headed," said the Boehner aide, who also asked that his name not be used, said.

And it's as this type of resource to Boehner and other House Republicans that Ryan is comfortable being in the background.

The House of Representatives is back in session Tuesday and that's when Ryan will continue his in-person wheeling and dealing, as well as some much-needed counsel for his GOP colleagues.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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