With cooperation on Capitol Hill nearly nil, Republicans offer more tax cuts, say no to Obama budget

Though Congress' approval rating stands at 10 percent -- compared to 50 percent for President Obama -- House Republican leaders said Sunday his budget is dead on arrival, but they are willing to work on more tax cuts.

"The president's budget is really something that's not serious and we are not going to pass a budget that racks up another $1,300,000,000,000 in debt without any attempt to try and address the real problems here of cutting spending, dealing with entitlements or growth," House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said on "Fox News Sunday."

"If you just did nothing, the debt is set to go up 78 percent. If you pass the president's budget, it goes up 76 percent," said House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis. "When you strip away all the budget gimmicks and the accounting tricks, they just gave us a budget that has a net spending increase of $1.5 trillion, and a tax increase of $1.9 trillion."

Still, Cantor said there is a "window of opportunity for us to get something done." He pointed to two items that Republicans are pushing to increase jobs.

First, congressional Republicans are working on a new proposal to help start-ups businesses get off the ground. The "Jumpstart Our Business Start-ups," bill, which Cantor said has won bipartisan support, calls for reducing regulations on small businesses and expanding access for financing.

The second item, which Republicans would be hard-pressed to get passed, is a 20 percent tax cut for small businesses, which Cantor called the engine of growth for the economy.

The legislation, which would apply to businesses with 500 employees or fewer, would be given to companies even if the taxes are filed under individual returns. Cantor said the suggestion that individuals making more than $250,000 a year shouldn't be entitled to a business tax cut flies in the face of efforts to grow the economy.

"I shouldn't be going home to my district in Richmond, Virginia, and telling a small business person that I can help by providing a tax cut for them so they can grow their business and hire more people just because maybe someone else benefits. In the end of the day, we are all in this together," he said.

"It's up to the president and Harry Reid if they want to join us," Cantor added.

But tax cuts for business owners is unlikely to get Democratic backing, especially as an uptick in jobless numbers and an unpaid payroll tax cut passing Congress have emboldened Democrats pushing the president's budget despite Republicans calling it a non-starter.

As such, the tax cut -- which adds $93 billion to the deficit -- is among the few achievements expected on Capitol Hill for the rest of the year, and any decision-making may have to wait until the 2012 presidential election is over.

Included in that is a budget for the next fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1. House Republicans plan to pass their own budget, but it is unlikely to get a hearing in the Senate.

The Republican budget is "a one-sided, lopsided approach" that makes middle-income Americans, including Medicare recipients, take the brunt of the burden, said Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., ranking member of the House Budget Committee, who called for a "balanced approach" that includes tax increases in order to bring down deficits.

Republicans "do not want to ask folks at the very high end to pitch in by closing corporate tax loopholes and by going back to the same top tax rate that was in place during the Clinton years when the economy boomed and when we balanced the budget by the end. They don't want to do that," Van Hollen said.

"We all want tax reform. It's just the Republicans don't want one penny of tax reform to go towards deficit reduction," he added.

But Ryan, who voted against extending the payroll tax cut, countered that it "just drives me crazy" that Democrats say they are for deficit reduction, but in actuality, won't find $100 billion over 10 years to pay for the payroll tax extension.

"These temporary sugar-high economics, these stimulus effects just don't work to grow the economy and they are a poor substitute for lowering tax rates for having predictable regulations, for getting rid of crony capitalism, for addressing the real drivers of our debt which would do so much more to grow our economy than doing these sorts of things," Ryan said.

Ryan and Van Hollen appeared on NBC's "Meet the Press."