Tim Carney of the Washington Examiner explains why the race to become the next chairman of the U.S. Senate Budget Committee could end up being more than just the latest edition of Washington inside baseball.

Conservative Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama could be chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, injecting a much needed shot of populism into the GOP policymaking apparatus.

Sessions would join other conservative chairmen with populist leanings, including the two men whose committees oversee Wall Street. But Sen. Mike Enzi — a Wyoming conservative who is closer to the party Establishment and the business lobby — could take the gavel instead. …

… The men are similar in ideology and voting record, but different in temperament. Enzi is more compromise-minded and more closely aligned with the party leadership. Enzi’s tightness to Majority Leader-elect Mitch McConnell has led conservatives to paint him as a McConnell operative. On circumstantial evidence, conservative bloggers and Hill staffers charge McConnell with trying to block Sessions. McConnell’s office flatly denies any involvement.

Sessions has been more of a thorn in the side of leadership. For weeks he has threatened to derail the appropriations process over President Obama’s extraordinary expansion of executive authority on immigration, while GOP leadership has tried to tamp down any suggestion of another government shutdown. Enzi’s bid for the gavel seems to have pushed Sessions to moderate his combative tone.

More interesting than Sessions’ positions or tactics on immigration may be his rhetoric. Sessions, for more than a year, has framed the debate over immigration as a fight between the big business lobby and working Americans. At a November Heritage Foundation speech, Sessions said the push for increased immigration levels served “the interests of certain powerful forces.” …

… Sessions’ scuffles with the business lobby over immigration seems to have planted a seed of populism in him. Behind closed doors, he complains about corporate welfare and mocks financial giants as “masters of the universe.” In April 2013, Sessions signed on as a co-sponsor of the Brown-Vitter bill to break up the big banks.

This newfound populism (Sessions voted for plenty of corporate welfare before the 2012 election, including the Export-Import Bank) could be a benefit on the Budget Committee if Sessions applies it in matters beyond immigration. Will a GOP budget target corporate tax credits and corporate welfare spending? Sessions could steer them that way.