Hill Dems defend Obama's budget

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Republicans have piled on the president's $3.8 trillion proposal, unveiled Monday, calling it a plan to overload the country with debt and derail the economy.

But Conrad argued that the GOP push to tackle the nation's growing debt burden now would simply send the economy in the wrong direction. He acknowledged that the nation's long-term debt trajectory does need to be addressed, but not at the cost of the nation's fledgling recovery.

"Their policy proposals ... would only further weaken demand which would lower economic growth, kill job creation, and choke off the economic recovery," he said.

"Don't jeopardize this very positive but very fragile trajectory we're seeing," added Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), the ranking member of the House Budget Committee.

Both lawmakers sought to paint the president's latest budget as a fresh example of how far the economy has come under his watch, from the depths of the financial crisis to what appears to be a slowly developing economic recovery.

"The bottom was falling out of the economy and what you see is, as a result of the actions taken by the president and the Congress at the time ... we began to stop the freefall, turn the corner," said Van Hollen.