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December 12, 2012

Van Hollen: Speaker will wait until after leadership election to solve fiscal cliff

Rep. Chris Van Hollen, a leading House Democrat, said Wednesday that he worries that John Boehner will fail to bring a viable solution to his caucus on the so-called fiscal cliff until next year because of concerns about alienating them before he is re-elected speaker.

"He wants to wait until Jan. 3, until the election for speaker takes place,'' Van Hollen, D-Md., said at a breakfast with reporters sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor. "I hope he wouldn't avoid the tough decisions simply to take us into January and after his swearing-in, but I've become increasingly worried that that is exactly what's going on."

Van Hollen, the top Democrat on the House Budget Committee, said Boehner needs to bring a package to the House floor for a vote, even though he knows he will not get full Republican support.

“I think the biggest impediment right now is the speaker’s ability to get a decent number of Republican votes for an agreement that I think most people would agree was a fair agreement,” he said. “The point I think the speaker should make to his caucus is that even if they’re against it, they can go ahead and vote against it."

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