What a top Democrat thinks will be 'the big issue' in midterm elections

Rep. Chris Van Hollen, who has chaired the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, responds to the predictions that Republicans will pick up House seats this year.

Michael Bonfigli /The Christian Science Monitor
Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D) of Maryland speaks at the St. Regis Hotel on April 8, 2014, in Washington.

Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D) of Maryland is the ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee and chaired the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. He was the guest at the April 8 Monitor Breakfast.

The House Republican budget:

"It is not bold or courageous to take two-thirds of your budget cuts from the most vulnerable families and people."

His relations with House Budget chairman Paul Ryan (R) of Wisconsin:

"I think his motivation is genuine. But ... his policies are incredibly misguided; they are not connected to the real world of people who are out there working hard."

Predictions that Republicans will pick up House seats in 2014:

"The big issue in these elections is going to be the ability to turn out core voters."

One factor he thinks will change the outlook for Democratic House candidates:

"Opinion is beginning to change slowly on [the Affordable Care Act] ... more people now support the [law] than oppose it."

Jeb Bush saying that illegal immigration can result from an act of love for family:

"What is really inhumane is [for Republican leaders] not to allow a vote on a bipartisan piece of [immigration reform] legislation that has already passed the Senate."

Defense spending and the crisis in Ukraine:

"I don't think it is logical for people to say – based on what happens in Ukraine – we should dramatically boost our defense spending.... In 2008, when Russian troops went into parts of Georgia,... our defense budget was rapidly escalating."

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