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Van Hollen ‘cannot say anything good’ about Ryan budget

"I think the choice is very clear, so I cannot say anything good about the Ryan economic plan and budget — I mean, there's just no good there," Van Hollen said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

Presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney announced Saturday that Ryan, the House Budget Committee chairman, would be his running mate on the GOP ticket. Since the announcement, Democrats have launched a fierce attack on Ryan’s controversial budget proposals. 

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Van Hollen, who has worked closely on the committee with Ryan, said that although he gets along "very well personally" with the seven-term Wisconsin lawmaker, they have deep differences of opinion on policy issues. 

The Maryland Democrat said Ryan would be forced to defend his budget’s tax breaks for top income earners, which Van Hollen cited as his biggest concern in the Ryan proposals.

"I think that what the American people are going to understand is that it's not only that those tax cuts didn't do any good, it's that they come at the expense of everyone and everything else," he said.

Van Hollen called for a "balanced plan" of tax cuts and revenue increases in order to achieve deficit reduction. 

"Because they ask nothing of folks at the very high end of the income scale, they whack everybody and everything else, and that is why seniors on Medicare will pay more under the Ryan-Romney plan," he added. 

Van Hollen also argued that Ryan's and Romney's proposals cut investments in education and "increase the burden" on middle-income taxpayers. 

The Maryland lawmaker defended the Democratic approach to preserve Medicare and Social Security, which he said had focused on reducing overall costs in the healthcare system.

Van Hollen cited President Obama's signature healthcare reform law, the Affordable Care Act, for eliminating overpayments and subsidies to private insurance companies, saying it helped extend the life of Medicare. 

"We then … used some of those savings in Medicare actually to enhance some of the benefits, for example the prescription drug benefit and preventative care benefits, both of which are totally wiped out and eliminated in the Ryan-Romney plan," he said.

The Romney campaign, though, in a new ad, has sought to counter attacks on Ryan’s Medicare plan by accusing Obama of cutting over $700 billion from Medicare to fund his own healthcare reform bill.

Ryan’s budget calls for $5 trillion in government spending cuts and shifting Medicare to a subsidized private insurance model.