One Nation Under Debt

Published — August 11, 2011 Updated — May 19, 2014 at 12:19 pm ET

Failed DCCC head Van Hollen will take liberal line in SuperCongress

House minority leader Nancy Pelosi named Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., to bipartisan debt "super committee." Alex Brandon/AP File


Chris Van Hollen is the liberal counterpoint to House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan, whose fiscal blueprint calls for broad whacks at entitlement programs.

Van Hollen, as the ranking Democrat on the budget committee, says Republicans would “increase tax breaks for millionaires and special interests and pays for these new tax cuts on the backs of working Americans” while Democrats would keep “our commitments to America’s seniors and most vulnerable instead of dismantling Medicare and Medicaid.”

And, for good measure, the Republican plan “amounts to a yellow-brick road for the already prosperous and a dead end for the rest of the country,” he says.

Van Hollen might have been in line to be the budget chairman rather than Ryan, but that opportunity slipped away after House Democrats suffered devastating losses in November 2010—while Van Hollen chaired the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Defeated Chairman John Spratt endorsed Van Hollen to succeed him.

The Maryland congressman, whose district includes much of the affluent Washington, D.C., suburb of Montgomery County, was elected to Congress in 2002. He served a dozen years in the Maryland legislature before that.

He had a notably restrained reaction to the Standard & Poor’s decision to downgrade the U.S. government’s credit rating.

“The most important thing we can do to restore confidence and improve the fiscal situation is to get the economy moving and put people back to work. That immediate focus should be coupled with a long term plan to reduce the deficit,” he said.

Top Political Contributions

  • Lockheed Martin, the aerospace and arms manufacturing giant — at least $35,000
  • New York Life Insurance Company, the insurance giant — at least $30,000
  • Credit Union National Association, the trade association for credit unions around the country — at least $27,500
  • American Association Of Orthopaedic Surgeons, the medical trade group — at least $25,000
  • American Association For Justice, the trade group formally known as the Association of Trial Lawyers — at least $22,500
  • United Food & Commercial Workers International Union, which represents food service workers — at least $22,500
  • PACs have contributed at least $1.4 million to Van Hollen’s campaign account, his Victory Now PAC, and the Van Hollen Victory Fund since the start of 2009.

Revolving Door

  • Christopher Woodside, a former Van Hollen legislative correspondent and systems administrator, is now a lobbyist at MENC, the National Association for Music Education

Statements on Super Congress

  • In a statement, Van Hollen said “Our plan should put jobs first, sharpen America’s competitive edge, ensure health and retirement security, and require shared responsibility from those who have done so well even during these tough economic times.”

Read more in Money and Democracy

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