Van Hollen poised to take ranking spot on House Budget panel

Van Hollen's leadership experience would give Democrats a strong presence on the budget panel that is likely to serve as at least one battleground for spending cuts and entitlement issues when Republican Paul Ryan (Wis.) takes the helm in January. 

The Maryland Democrat thanked his colleagues for their support saying, "our shared commitment to fiscally sustainable policies that support American families and small businesses will be critical as we continue to rebuild our economy and move America forward."

In a letter to his colleagues on Wednesday, Spratt said the panel will "play a critical role" in the 112th Congress and Van Hollen "is more than up to that challenge, and I am pleased to see him seek the position."