Pelosi: GOP budget puts 'women and children last'

She also criticized House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) for saying "so be it" if Republican cuts lead to job losses. "So be it?" she asked. "We believe that our budget should be a statement of our national values."

Democrats generally took to the floor protest the Republicans' plan to cut $61 billion in spending for the rest of 2011 compared to the current bill that is funding the government. More than one Democrat said Republicans are taking a "meat axe" to the budget and are seeking cuts that will hurt U.S. job creation.

But Republicans rejected these charges and said that their cuts are not drastic, and that they are pursuing a process that allows for Democratic amendments.

Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) argued that a $61 billion cut from a $3.7 trillion budget is hardly "slashing and burning" as some Democrats suggested. "It's irresponsible to call a 2 percent cut 'reckless,'" he said.

Kingston also said Democrats are free to introduce their own spending cuts if they do not agree with Republican choices. So far, however, Democrats only seem to be proposing H.R. 11, which would extend the Build American Bond program in an effort to subsidize local construction projects.

Pelosi on Tuesday offered this bill again as a way to boost job creation, but did not offer an alternative spending bill for 2011.

Republicans today also argued that their tougher budget plan is needed after President Obama failed to propose any meaningful spending reductions for FY 2012. Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) said the Obama administration's budget ignores the recommendations of its own deficit commission made in December.

"Had I been appointed to the commission, I would have voted with Senator [Tom] Coburn and Senator [Dick] Durbin for the report," Wolf said. "If those senators from far opposite sides could come together for the good of the country, then where is the president?"

The House began debate on the rule for considering the spending bill a little after noon on Tuesday. One hour of debate is scheduled on the bill, after which the House will begin taking up amendments.