Colorado: Chris Van Hollen Dials In for Sal Pace

Rep. Chris Van Hollen participated in a conference call for the Democratic candidate in Colorado's 3rd district. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call FIle Photo)

A prominent House Democrat today came to the aid of Sal Pace, who is challenging Rep. Scott Tipton (R) in Colorado’s 3rd district.

Rep. Chris Van Hollen (Md.), the top Democrat on the Budget Committee, joined Pace on a conference call with reporters to attack Tipton’s support for the policies of House Budget Chairman and GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan (Wis.). Pace, who is in a competitive race with Tipton, has linked Tipton to Ryan’s budget because Tipton voted for it.

“It’s no secret that I’ve been talking about how disasterous the Tipton-Ryan budget would be,” Pace said during the conference call. He added that former presidential candidate and ex-Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) referred to the budget as “right-wing social engineering.”

Van Hollen said that while he gets along well personally with Ryan on the Budget Committee, the two could not have bigger differences on the budget. He added that the Ryan budget, which Tipton supported, would prioritize tax breaks for “very wealthy Americans” at the expense of seniors on Medicare and others.

Pace and Van Hollen hit the “Tipton-Ryan budget” for what they said would be cuts to the wind energy development tax credit and funds for disaster relief.

Ryan’s plans for Medicare would have an especially negative effect on seniors, the two said.

“We closed the prescription drug doughnut hole, whereas the Tipton-Ryan budget will immediately reopen that doughnut hole,” Van Hollen said.

Pace added, “I consider it a moral imperative that we do everything in our power to ensure that the Tipton-Ryan budget never gets implemented into law.”

The Tipton campaign did not respond to a phone call seeking comment. Republicans have repeatedly disputed Democratic characterizations of Ryan's budget plan, while pointing out that the Democratic majority in the Senate has declined to pass any budget for the past few years.