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November 10, 2010

Van Hollen seeking top Dem spot on Budget

Updated

Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland has formally announced his candidacy for his party's top spot on the House Budget Committee.

The job would put Van Hollen in the middle of the biggest domestic debate of the next two years: how to rein in an expanding federal debt burden. It also would potentially position him to become chairman, if Democrats ever retake the House.

Though he was re-elected in last week's midterm election, the Montgomery County Democrat was one of its victims. He has just completed a four-year stint as head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and was looking to move up in the House leadership.

Van Hollen, 51, is considered one of the younger, rising stars of his party in the House. He was given a job two years ago as a special assistant to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, an incentive to get him to take on the challenging task of holding the Democratic majority in 2010.

The Republican takeover and a desire by more senior Democrats to remain in power, including Pelosi, Steny Hoyer and Jim Clyburn--all in their 70s--has created a traffic jam that blocked other aspiring Democratic leaders in the House. Van Hollen's bid for the Budget committee position would not preclude him from also getting some sort of minority leadership post, though.

Democrats lost 60 seats in the 2010 election, after picking up seats during his first two years in the House campaign job. Van Hollen contends that his party's losses would have been much worse, if he and Democratic strategists hadn't moved to contain the damage.

Text of his announcement letter after the jump.

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

Posted by Paul West at 10:48 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Maryland election 2010
        

Comments

What cahones this progladite has. His job was to maintain the Dems majority. HE FAILED MISERABLY.
Now as the good progladite he is he wants to be rewarded for his total failure?

Typical of his species.

If Nancy Pelosi can be 'rewarded' by keeping her leadership role within the Democrat Caucus, why shouldn't Van Holen be 'rewarded' for his masterful job as head of the DCCC?

Watch Van Holen's power grab sabotage Steny Hoyer efforts to retain some measure of leadership. Will the diminished Dem causus give two plum assignments (Minority Whip and Ranking Member of Budget) to the same state delegation? Doubtful, but it is fun to watch.

The Democrats couldn't even pass a budget, why do they get seats on the budget committee. He is going to end up losing to Rep. Paul Ryan in every debate even if he lands the job. Running the DCCC is nothing like being a leader on the budget committee.

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Annie Linskey covers state politics and government for The Baltimore Sun. Previously, as a City Hall reporter, she wrote about the corruption trial of Mayor Sheila Dixon and kept a close eye on city spending. Originally from Connecticut, Annie has also lived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where she reported on war crimes tribunals and landmines. She lives in Canton.

John Fritze has covered politics and government at the local, state and federal levels for more than a decade and is now The Baltimore Sun’s Washington correspondent. He previously wrote about Congress for USA TODAY, where he led coverage of the health care overhaul debate and the 2010 election. A native of Albany, N.Y., he currently lives in Montgomery County.

Julie Scharper covers City Hall and Baltimore politics. A native of Baltimore County, she graduated from The Johns Hopkins University in 2001 and spent two years teaching in Honduras before joining The Baltimore Sun. She has followed the Amish community of Nickel Mines, Pa., in the year after a schoolhouse massacre, reported on courts and crime in Anne Arundel County, and chronicled the unique personalities and places of Baltimore City and its surrounding counties.
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