Rep. Van Hollen Seeks Ranking Member of House Budget Committee

By John R Parkinson

Nov 10, 2010 10:36am

ABC News’ John R. Parkinson reports: 

Rep. Chris Van Hollen, who currently holds dual leadership positions in the House of Representatives as the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and Assistant to the Speaker, sent a letter this morning to Democratic colleagues seeking their support for Ranking Member of the House Budget Committee.

In the letter, Van Hollen, D-Maryland, tells Democratic colleagues that the next two years of under a Republican majority will feature a “critical debate over how best to strengthen our economy and move our country forward for all Americans.” Van Hollen writes that the Budget Committee will be “a central front” in the conversation about how to accelerate economic growth. 

“Having served as a member of the Democratic Leadership and as a member of the Ways and Means Committee, I recognize that the challenges before us are formidable.  Our position as a Caucus must be clear and our arguments must be sharp.  Armed with the facts, we must engage the public at every step of this national debate,” Van Hollen writes. “I believe I can serve our Caucus effectively as we confront these challenges and ask for your support to become Ranking Member of the Budget Committee.” 

Van Hollen, who was just reelected to his fifth term, is attempting to replace the current chairman, Rep. John Spratt, D-SC, as the top Democrat on the House Budget Committee. Spratt lost his bid for reelection to Republican businessman Mike Mulvaney in last week’s election. The House Budget Committee will likely be chaired in the next session of Congress by the current ranking member, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin. 

Van Hollen headed the DCCC as they lost at least 60 seats in the House in the congressional midterm elections last week, losing majority control to the GOP. 

He also served as chairman at the DCCC during better days, when Democrats added 21 seats to their majority during the 2008 election.

In his role as Assistant to the Speaker, Van Hollen worked with Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the House Democratic Leadership and the White House to formulate policy, legislative strategy, and message.

A copy of the Van Hollen letter is below: 

November 10, 2010 

Dear Colleague: 

I write to ask for your support to serve as Ranking Member of the Budget Committee for the 112th Congress.   

Over the next two years we will be engaged in a critical debate over how best to strengthen our economy and move our country forward for all Americans.  The Budget Committee will be a central front in this national conversation about how to accelerate job creation and economic growth.  This will not just be a fight over numbers.  It is ultimately a debate about who we are and the future direction of our country.  

Our Republican colleagues have made clear their plan to use the budget process to provide a $700 billion tax cut for the wealthiest Americans by adding to our national debt and slashing education and other investments that are necessary for America to compete in the global economy.  Other Republican proposals on Medicare and Social Security would jeopardize the health and retirement security of America’s seniors.  We must fight these upside down priorities at every turn.  At the same time, we must offer a well-defined path to put our nation on a fiscally sustainable course.  

Having served as a member of the Democratic Leadership and as a member of the Ways and Means Committee, I recognize that the challenges before us are formidable.  Our position as a Caucus must be clear and our arguments must be sharp.  Armed with the facts, we must engage the public at every step of this national debate. 

I believe I can serve our Caucus effectively as we confront these challenges and ask for your support to become Ranking Member of the Budget Committee.

Sincerely, 

Chris Van Hollen
Member of Congress

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