Speaking on the House floor, Blumenauer said a deal that satisfies both parties should be within reach. "This doesn't have to be so hard," he said. "It doesn't need to risk knocking the economy into another tailspin."

He said an agreement could be based on cutting "unsustainable spending and tax cuts." On the spending-cut side, he said, Defense Department cuts should be a major element.

"Why shouldn't we, after more than a half century at the end of World War II, 20 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, bring those troops home from Europe?" he said as one example.

Blumenauer also said voters would support "modest, reasonable tax reform" that raises revenues by closing "unjustified tax loopholes." He added that infrastructure demands would be funded through user fees, and said reforming agriculture spending is another key.

Finally, he said the U.S. should launch a process for ensuring the viability of Social Security.

"Any rotary club with 10 people and an Internet connection and a sheet of butcher paper can come up with one or two or three alternatives that would solve the problem over the next 50 years and would be acceptable to the American public," he said.