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Austerity votes in Europe show that GOP is wrong, top Democrat says

Austerity agendas in France and Greece resulted in voter rebellions this week. It's a sign that the GOP's austerity program for the US is mistaken, says Democratic Rep. Chris Van Hollen. 

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Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D) of Maryland, the top Democrat on the House Budget Committee, speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington in this file photo.

Evan Vucci/AP/File

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Democrats see confirmation of their budget policies in the results of this weekend’s elections in Greece and France, where voters turned out politicians who were tied to austerity measures, says Rep. Chris Van Hollen, the top Democrat on the House Budget Committee.

The election results "confirm the position that many of us have taken, which is the most important thing right now is to sustain and nurture the very fragile economy, and that while we have to develop and implement a long-term deficit reduction plan, we should be very careful in designing that that we do nothing to hurt the fragile economy,” Congressman Van Hollen said Tuesday at a Monitor-hosted breakfast for reporters.

The issue of budget austerity came into sharp focus on Capitol Hill Monday evening when the House Budget Committee's Republican majority passed a measure on a 21 to 9 party-line vote to trim $261 billion from domestic spending over the next decade. Among programs that would see funding cuts were Medicaid, food stamps, and a child tax credit. The social spending reductions were designed to prevent a 10 percent, across-the-board reduction in the Pentagon’s budget, which is scheduled to take effect Jan. 2 unless Congress acts.

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