Van Hollen blames delay in extending Bush tax cuts on Senate Republicans

“I think Sen. [Jon] Kyl [R-Ariz.] on Sunday made it very clear that that is their top economic priority, providing tax breaks to the very rich,” he told reporters.

Kyl told Fox News Sunday that Congress should extend all of the Bush tax breaks and not pay for their cost. 

“The big issue is Republicans want to hold middle-class tax cuts hostage for providing big, Bush tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans,” Van Hollen said. 

The Maryland lawmaker is the assistant to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and is also a part of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee that will ultimately decide the tax breaks that are extended by the House. 

Van Hollen said that while some rank-and-file Democrats might want to extend all the Bush tax breaks, the overall majority wants to narrow that scope to those aimed at the middle class. 

He also strongly hinted that House leaders would only move on the tax breaks after they were sure the Senate would reciprocate. 

“I’m confident that we would get the votes to [pass] it,” he said. “But in making that decision you have to look at the overall situation — the House and the Senate.” 

Van Hollen expects House leaders will decide the fate of the tax breaks in the “next couple of weeks.” 

That timeline puts the decision about a week before the House adjourns for the August recess.