The top Republicans on the House and Senate budget committees said they were "disappointed" with President Barack Obama’s budget plan during a conference call Wednesday, arguing it will add $8.2 trillion to the deficit while increasing taxes by $1.1 trillion.
"This is worse than a status-quo budget," said House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan (R., Wisc.). "We need a dramatic departure from the failed policies of the past and unfortunately the president’s budget fails to break new ground."
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.), ranking member on the Senate Budget Committee, called Obama’s $3.7 trillion budget plan "disappointing to a significant degree."
The White House says its proposal will reduce the deficit by $1.8 trillion over the next ten years through a combination of spending cuts and tax increases. It also eliminates the across-the-board sequestration cuts.
However, Republicans say that when "budget gimmicks" and the cost of removing the sequester are factored in, net deficit reduction is only $119 billion.
"The president now has produced a budget like the Senate Democrats that never balances the budget, ever," said Sessions.
Ryan summed up the budget as "more taxing, more spending, more of the same."
Obama’s $1.1 trillion in proposed new taxes include a "Buffett Rule," which would require Americans earning over $1 million per year to pay 30 percent in taxes after charitable giving. It would also include a tax hike on cigarettes.
The president’s plan also included some minor Social Security and Medicare reforms, which Ryan said "at least … show his willingness to reform entitlements." However, Ryan said the proposed reforms did not go far enough.
"I don’t think we should be talking about a ‘grand bargain’ because that implies that the president and Senate are willing to embrace fundamental entitlement reform," said Ryan.
While Ryan and Sessions were critical of the budget plan, Ryan did praise the president for submitting it, calling it a step toward a "healthy, clarifying budget debate."
"At least everybody’s put a plan on the table," said Ryan. "What we need to do is start talking so we can find common ground, so we can pave the way for an agreement."
Ryan has submitted his own plan that seeks to balance the federal budget within 10 years.
Obama said his proposals included "compromise" on entitlements during remarks introducing the budget and called on Republicans to make concessions on tax increases.
"When it comes to deficit reduction, I’ve already met Republicans more than halfway," said Obama. "So, in the coming days and weeks, I hope that Republicans will come forward and demonstrate that they’re really as serious—as serious about the deficits and debt as they claim to be."