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October 7th, 2013
11:25 PM ET

Van Hollen regrets 2004 debt ceiling vote

If lawmakers do not vote to raise the debt ceiling in ten days, the U.S. will run out of cash to pay its bills, including interest it already owes debt holders.

In 2004, Democratic Congressman Chris Van Hollen, now a member of the House budget committee, voted against raising the debt ceiling, saying at the time, "The vote to raise the debt limit for a third time in three years is a direct consequence of the reckless fiscal policy pursued by the Republican leadership over the last few years."

In an interview with CNN Monday, Van Hollen said he regrets that vote.

"I would vote differently now," said Van Hollen.

But, Van Hollen noted, back then, no lawmakers "ever were saying that they would actually allow the country to default on the debt. You had political jockeying, it was symbolic, it was about the fiscal situation."

"What started in 2011, however, is people were actually saying that they would allow the country to default, and that's very different," said the Maryland Democrat.

Though Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, has said repeatedly that he will not allow the U.S. government to default on its debt.

"But what the speaker has said is he will continue to threaten default to extract concessions on the Republican agenda," said Van Hollen.

"They don't want to negotiate the different priorities between the president's budget and their budget, they want to try and get 100% of what is in their budget, in exchange for what they should do anyway, which is pay our bills on time," said Van Hollen.

For more of our debt ceiling interview with Congressman Chris Van Hollen, watch the video above.

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