This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," August 16, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan is known for his conservative ideas, especially when it comes to the budget. But can he peel off any Democratic votes? Democratic Representative Chris Van Hollen knows Congressman Ryan better than just about any other Democrat on Capitol Hill. They worked together on the House budget committee. We spoke with Congressman Van Hollen earlier tonight.
VAN SUSTEREN: Congressman, nice to see you, sir.
REP. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN, D-MD: It's good to be back.
VAN SUSTEREN: I know you have very deep divisions with the Republican Party and with congressman Ryan as well. You were the ranking member of the house budget committee, is that right?
VAN HOLLEN: That's right.
VAN SUSTEREN: Before we get into the weeds of the differences, I am curious. You worked with him closely. Is he a man who you can work with, negotiate, talk to?
VAN HOLLEN: Well, let's take them one at a time. I get along very well with Paul, personally. Yes, we can talk on different issues. As you know, we have -- but we also, as you said, disagree very deeply on the policy issues. We have very fierce, but always civil debates.
When it comes to negotiation, I have to say, if you look at Paul's budget, the Ryan budget, it's an uncompromising document. Every one of the Democratic amendments we offered that went to a roll call vote were rejected. And Paul is passionate about what he believes. And he is, as Mitt Romney said, the ideological leader of the Republicans. And in the House that means, in some ways, that budget's become the Tea Party manifesto. It is not a compromising document. It's uncompromising.
VAN SUSTEREN: But is he the kind of member -- I assume there is a whole array, who draws the line in the sand and it's my way or no way I'm the chairman. Or does he say, here's my idea. I really think mine is right. But let me hear what you have to say and I will agree to think about what you have to say.
VAN HOLLEN: He is certainly willing to hear what other people have to say. After all, we on the Democratic side in the house, we offered a full alternative budget. We didn't get any support from the Republicans or from Paul, but obviously, they were willing to listen. But there is a big difference between a willingness to listen, a willingness to engage in civil discussion, and a willingness to actually compromise.
VAN SUSTEREN: Were you being humored or do you think you are being humored with your idea or do you think he was genuinely interested in what have you to say?
VAN HOLLEN: I think he was interested in what we have to say. But I think he is so fixed on his own views -- and passionate about his own views -- that in some ways, it has, I think, blinded him to the facts on the other side.
But, look, again, I think the good news for the country is that we have civil debates. I think the bad news from my perspective is that if we were to adopt the Ryan/Romney plan, I do believe it would be very bad for the country. But that's what this election is about. It's about a choice, and I think by putting Paul Ryan on the ticket, Mitt Romney has sharpened that choice.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. You say the Ryan/Romney plan. That's what I hear from the Democrats. I feel a little gamed by that description, like I feel gamed by the Republicans who refer to as a Ryan/Wyden plan. Do you agree it's the Paul Ryan plan and Governor Romney has -- one time said he would adopt it but he has put out a different plan. There are some things he likes, but some things are different, that there is a separate Mitt Romney plan.
VAN HOLLEN: One is the overall Ryan budget plan, his plan for the economy. Mitt Romney said the other day that they were virtually on the same page. Those are Mitt Romney's words.
With respect to the Medicare plan, Mitt Romney just the other day said when it came to the Medicare plan, they are virtually identical. And both of them, I should stress save money not by reducing the costs in med character but by transferring the costs onto seniors. And those plans would both give seniors on Medicare, Greta, a much worse deal than members of Congress has for themselves, they would put seniors in much greater financial risk than the plans of members of Congress.
VAN SUSTEREN: I went back through and there are some differences between the so-called Ryan plan and the Romney plan. There are a few differences. But let me ask you, if there is one thing you could identify in the Ryan budget that is the easiest, cleanest description of how different your idea is from Congressman Ryan, what is it?
VAN HOLLEN: At the heart of the Ryan plan is this idea that we should give another round of windfall tax breaks to folks at the very high end of the income ladder. They don't ask for one more penny from the wealthiest Americans to help reduce the deficit. Simple math tells you if you ask nothing from folks at the very top can and you want to reduce the deficit, it means you whack everybody else in the process. It hurts senior. It will require seniors to pay much higher costs. And it means lower investment in kids' education.
And on their tax plan -- this has been verified by the independent Tax Policy Center, which Mitt Romney described as an authoritative source, they would raise taxes on middle income taxpayers to finance additional tax cuts for folks at the very top. As opposed to the president's plan, if you look at his budget, it's a much more balanced approach. It has cuts, but it asks folks at the top to share more responsibility. Erskine Bowles just wrote recently that the president's plan is much closer to the principle of Simpson-Bowles than the Romney plan.
VAN SUSTEREN: I suppose you have seen the video passed around where Erskine Bowles is praising, last August, Paul Ryan and his budget plan and his earnest -- I don't know -- that he wants to fix things.
VAN HOLLEN: What Erskine did he praised Paul Ryan as a person of integrity. He did want praise his budget plan. I think anyone should ask Erskine today that question -- in fact, Erskine Bowles and Allen Simpson issued a statement about the Ryan plan, and they said it lacked the balance that was at the heart of Simpson-Bowles. And they have said that the president's plan has that kind of balance and Mitt Romney's plan does not. That's what they have said as recently as a few weeks ago.
VAN SUSTEREN: And what a Republican might say and what Governor Romney and Representative Paul Ryan might say is that they got "Cory Booker-ed," to use the expression when they want to back down and they make reference to Senator Wyden, who embraced much of bipartisan agreement with Congressman Ryan and now he is backing down.
VAN HOLLEN: I don't think Erskine Bowles is backing down a statement. He said that he thought he was a man of integrity --
VAN SUSTEREN: No, no. On the -- what I understood from Erskine Bowles, now we are really into the weeds and there is a lot of fighting back and forth, is that he thought he was someone people should listen to, Congressman Ryan. And he was not endorsing everything but he thought it was encouraging because he was a man who had some ideas worth looking at.
VAN HOLLEN: Look, everybody should listen to everybody else. But I think if you go back and look at the full Erskine Bowles tape, he said thee thought Paul Ryan was a person of integrity but he had serious problems with the Ryan plan. And they issued a statement, I mean, they issued a formal statement saying the plan lacked the balance necessary as called for by Simpson-Bowles.
VAN SUSTEREN: Congressman, thank you, sir. It's always nice to see you.
VAN HOLLEN: Good to be with you.