By Andrew Feinberg - 05/20/12 03:16 PM EDT
Interview begins at 2:43 mark.
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said his budget proposal would help "prevent” the tough austerity measures being implemented in Europe, by keeping entitlements from bankrupting the nation.
On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Ryan contrasted his approach to President Obama, and said his budget would bring down the amount of government borrowing, creating “certainty for investors" that the U.S. won't experience a Europe-like debt crisis.
But Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), appearing on the same program, defended President Obama’s budget as a balanced approach between austerity measures and stimulus to create job growth.,
Durbin said he agrees with Ryan that the nation is “facing serious deficit challenges."
"But our approaches are different," he said. Obama's approach "focuses on working people," Durbin said, by protecting "critical programs" like Social Security and Medicare.
Sen. Durbin acknowledged that "some cuts in spending" are needed.
"But don't eliminate the basic things that middle income Americans need to succeed," he said, accusing Ryan's budget of program cuts which hurt workers and could further delay the economic recovery.
"That is not the approach to grow the economy," Durbin said.
"When I take a look at Paul Ryan's budget and see $150,000 in income tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, that is not consistent with these goals," he added, and said lawmakers should reconsider the recommendations of the president’s Bowles-Simpson defect reduction commission.
Durbin said he supported the balanced approach of the commission but said Ryan had ignored those recommendations.
"I voted to put everything on the table [to cut]," Durbin said. "Paul Ryan voted no."
"I still think it's the most reasonable, bipartisan approach," he added.
Ryan countered that he "ignored" Bowles-Simpson because it failed to address healthcare entitlements, which he called "the driver of our debt."
Durbin also responded criticized House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) calls for dollar-for-dollar spending cuts in exchange for any increase in the debt-ceiling limit and said Boehner's stance would frighten markets and ignite new fears that the nation would default on its debt.
Ryan countered by criticizing President Obama, whom he accused of "failing to confront this debt crisis."
The November election, he predicted, would be "great choice of two contrasting visions -- the President's government-centered approach, or the opportunity society, the American idea offered by Gov. Romney."