The House passed Republicans' version of the payroll tax cut extension Tuesday night in a 234-193 vote. President Obama has threatened to veto the bill, and Senate Democrats said it will never pass in the upper chamber.

The Republican version of the legislation includes different proposals from those put forth by Obama, including an alternate method of paying for the extension. Van Hollen said the bill is filled with "poison pills."

Van Hollen said he is determined to follow Obama's exhortations that Congress stay in Washington until the deal is done. The payroll tax cuts expire at the end of the year, and most members of Congress leave town for the holidays.

"My view is we should stay here until this is done," he said, but offered a pessimistic outlook. "It's looking tougher and tougher."