President Barack Obama defended his proposed budget Tuesday, saying the plan contains painful, but necessary cuts. Yet, Republicans say the slashes in spending aren't deep enough.
Jacob Lew, the White House's point man on the 2012 budget, faced doubting Republicans on the House Budget Committee. Lew defended the budget blueprint, which would add more than $1 trillion do to the soaring deficit.
Many Republican lawmakers, including those on the committee, have scoffed at the White House budget for not seriously dealing with the deficit.
"If George W. Bush had presented this budget, I'd say the same thing. Why are you not taking this opportunity to lead?" Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., the chairman of the committee said.
If Democrats and Republicans can't agree, there could be a government shutdown next month as the national debt soars to record highs.
CBN News spoke with Tom McClusky of the Family Research Council about the debate over President Obama's budget. Click play for his comments following Jennifer Wishon's report.
Obama said he can work with the new Republican leadership in Congress to pass the budget.
"The key thing that I think the American people want to see is that all sides are serious about it and all sides are willing to give a little bit," he said.
This is the president's third budget, and he assured he's serious about making difficult cuts. With a fragile economic recovery in its infancy, Obama said "investments" in education and innovation that will create jobs are necessary.
But Republicans call that code for more spending.
"If we want to create jobs, if we want to save our children from bankruptcy we've got to quit spending money we do not have," said Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas.
Obama responded to opposition saying what doesn't create jobs are tax breaks for the wealthy. He's asking Congress to let the Bush tax cuts expire on wealthier Americans.
"(These are) tax breaks that do not make us more competitive, do not create jobs here in the United States of America," Obama said.
As the president made a personal pitch for his 2012 budget Tuesday, House Republicans also began their push to slash $61 billion from the current spending plan.
The plan expires next month and must be extended to keep government open for business through the end of September.
"We're not waiting for the next year to help change the direction," said Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. "We're doing it now."
There's only a few weeks left for conservative and liberal spenders to iron out their differences.
"I think it is important to make sure that we don't try to make a series of symbolic cuts this year that could endanger the recovery," Obama said.
In April, Republicans will release their own budget for 2012, and already there is one area of agreement -- both the president and the speaker agree that Social Security can be stabilized without affecting benefits.