Rep. Van Hollen: Boehner Has Given 'Veto Power' to 'Extreme' Tea Party

December 28, 2012 - 2:23 PM

Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.)

Maryland Democrat Rep. Chris Van Hollen (AP Photo)

( Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) told a crowd gathered outside the U.S. Capitol on Friday that House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has given “veto power to the most extreme members of the Tea Party caucus.”

Van Hollen called on the House to vote on a Senate measure that would raise taxes on individuals making more than $200,000 in order to avoid the fiscal cliff.

The Democrat claimed that the Republican Boehner will not call for the vote because of the Tea Party caucus: “So even though a majority of the members of the House, duly elected by the American people, Republicans and Democrats, even though a majority of them would vote for the Senate-passed bill he’s saying, ‘we’re not going to allow you to vote’.  In other words, he’s given veto power to the most extreme members of the Tea Party caucus.”

“Because that’s what Speaker Boehner has done through this artificial rule. A rule that’s not in law, it’s not in the Constitution. He says he won’t even allow a vote in the House unless a majority of his Republican members are in favor of it,” Van Hollen said.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) is also among Democrats who are pointing their finger at House Republicans on the fiscal cliff issue. During an appearance on CNN’s Starting Point on Friday, Stabenow said, “The tough part is in the House where they have taken this very extreme position about protecting the wealthiest Americans at all costs, even holding middle class families hostage to do it.  And that really isn't rhetoric.  I mean that’s what we're seeing over and over again.”

She continued, “I absolutely believe if it were up to the Senate Democrats and Republicans, we would get this done.  I think the problem is, unfortunately, with the extreme elements in the House, and for whatever reason the Speaker won't act.”

Lawmakers have until Monday night to come to an agreement before tax increases and  cuts to government spending automatically kick in on New Year's Day.