Van Hollen Will Unveil Budget to Caucus on Thursday

Posted April 6, 2011 at 10:08am

House Budget ranking member Chris Van Hollen will outline his budget plan to Democratic colleagues during a Caucus meeting Thursday.

“We’ll be presenting an outline tomorrow to the Caucus,” the Maryland Democrat said Wednesday morning following a closed-door meeting to discuss the GOP budget plan.

The announcement comes as the Budget panel is set to mark up House Republicans’ budget proposal on Wednesday. The plan unveiled Tuesday and crafted by Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (Wis.) drew sharp criticism from Democrats, who charged it would obliterate Medicare and Medicaid and provide further tax breaks for wealthy Americans.

Democrats have been weighing for weeks whether to put forward their own proposal but ultimately decided in favor of doing so to show a contrast with Republicans on fiscal priorities. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) met with ranking members Wednesday and addressed concerns that the Caucus will have a hard time presenting a unified front going into next week’s expected debate on the budget. Several caucuses, including the Congressional Black Caucus and the Progressive Caucus, are expected to produce their own plans.

Rep. Raúl Grijalva, a Progressive Caucus co-chairman, said the discussion Thursday will focus on “how do you integrate some of the priorities in the, let’s say, Progressive Caucus, Black Caucus, etc., in the overall budget so we have one unifying voice.”

“We’ll see if that happens,” the Arizona Democrat said. “That’s the ultimate goal.”

Van Hollen echoed that sentiment and shrugged off concern that the proposals would muddy Democrats’ messaging.

“Whatever they decide to do at the end of the day, we’ll unite around a budget,” he said.