By Erik Wasson - 04/23/11 10:20 PM EDT
Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.)
House Budget Committee ranking member Van Hollen is perhaps the most sympathetic person on the Biden gang to the recommendations of the fiscal commission. He has talked about compromise, but at the same time has launched fiery rhetoric at the House GOP budget.
Van Hollen has said that the fiscal commission spending cuts may be too deep, but he believes a balanced approach of cuts and tax increases is the right path.
Van Hollen sponsored an alternative House Democratic budget to the Ryan plan that gives a good sense of how he would do things.
To achieve the cuts, Democrats looked hard at the Pentagon. Like the Obama budget, the Van Hollen alternative would freeze spending for five years at 2010 levels. They would not cut low-income heating assistance or Community Development Block Grants however.
He has also sponsored a bill that would give the president new powers to eliminate wasteful spending. The power, known as “line-item veto light”, would allow the president to submit a bill rescinding specific items within 45 days of an appropriations bill being enacted and that bill would be fast-tracked.
In an April 13 speech he made the case for gradual spending cuts and for going after the Pentagon budget.
He said “a balanced approach to the deficit must include both spending cuts and revenues, and our budget will include a return to the Clinton era tax rates for the very top income earners.”