Van Hollen said the tea party rejection of Democratic offers of billions of dollars in compromise budget cuts comes from a desire to attack entitlements and environmental laws, not reduce the size of government as they've claimed.
"To pretend that they care about deficit reduction here when their real goal is to use this budget battle to impose that social agenda is becoming more obvious everyday," Van Hollen said.
He says that the man leading the negotiations for the Republicans in Congress, Boehner, has become nothing more than a proxy for his party's far-right extreme.
"None of us of course know how this is going to turn out," Van Hollen said, "but the Speaker is not in control of this process."
"He's being pushed rather than leading," Van Hollen said.
Ed. Note: This post has been updated from the original.