Van Hollen in demand with Ryan’s ascendancy


House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), left, and ranking member Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) in January. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) finds himself in high demand at this week’s Democratic National Convention in Charlotte as the ranking member of the House Budget Committee, which is chaired by Ryan (R-Wis.).

The congressman has a long list of media interviews scheduled, as well as a solid speaking spot Wednesday night.

“My message will be the consequences for the country of the Romney-Ryan budget plan,” Van Hollen said. “At the end of the day, it’s nothing more than a U-turn back to the failed economic policies of the Bush administration. … It’s a windfall of tax breaks for the wealthy at the expense of everyone else.”

Van Hollen has already dropped into a couple of battleground states and Tampa, the site of the Republican National Convention, to make the case against Ryan.

As the top Democrat on the budget panel, Van Hollen sits next to Ryan during committee meetings and frequently debates him on the House floor.

That familiarity has led to another role: Van Hollen is standing in for Ryan in debate preparations for Vice President Joe Biden.

“I understand how Ryan presents his case,” Van Hollen said.

John Wagner is a political reporter covering the race for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.

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