MSNBC Live, 2/24/13, 7:00 PM ET

Top Democrat blames Tea Party for sequester showdown

Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., tells MSNBC’s Chris Jansing that unless Republicans are willing to move on revenue, it will be tough to get a deal. He blames the tea party for the GOP intransigence.

Congress is back but sequester agreement seems a long way off


Congress is back in Washington after a week long recess, but it seems there’s no real negotiation to stop the sequester.

Congressman Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., the ranking member of the House Budget Committee told Chris Jansing, “There has been communication, but that is very different than a negotiation. And we’ve not seen a negotiation, primarily because Republicans continue to cling to their position that they will not accept one penny of additional revenue as part of a balanced alternative to the sequester.”

The sequester, $85 billion dollars in across-the-board harsh cuts, will take effect March 1st.

“If they can come around to that balanced approach then we can move forward,” Van Hollen says. ”You’ve got the split between the Tea Party Republicans who are cheering on the sequester and want to see it happen, and those Republicans who understand that very deep, very quick and arbitrary cuts in defense are irresponsible.”

Speaker John Boehner has planned a news conference for Monday at 4 p.m.

“The only thing that can move them off that position is if the Senate is able to come up with a bipartisan proposal and then put pressure on the House, where the American people are once again understanding that the House of Representatives, the Republicans here, are refusing to budge on a very important issue,” Van Hollen said.


Congress is back but sequester agreement seems a long way off