D.C.

President Obama takes budget battle to House Republicans

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As the budget battle heats up, a meeting of political arch rivals: President Obama and all House Republicans -- together Wednesday for the first
time in nearly two years.

"This is an invitation. Show us how to balance the budget," said House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis. "If you don't like the way we're proposing to balance our budget, how do you propose to balance the budget?"

Ryan's plan would balance the budget in ten years without raising taxes, but repealing the president's health care law, converting medicare into a
voucher-style system and cutting federal pensions.

"It's deja vu all over again," said Sen. Harry Reid, (D) Senate Majority Leader. "His budget is anything but balanced, anything but fair."

Wednesday Senate Democrats unveil a plan of their own - a 50-50 mix of tax hikes and spending cuts. It won't balance the budget. But President Obama told ABC's George Stephanopoulos in an exclusive interview that's not the goal.

"My goal is not to chase a balanced budget just for the sake of balance," said President Obama. "My goal is how do we grow the economy, put people back to work. and if we do that we're gonna be bringin' in more revenue. If we've controlled spending and we've got a smart entitlement package, then potentially what you have is balance."

Mr. Obama's budget blueprint is still a work in progress. But he's reaching out to lawmakers to find common ground, with four trips to capitol hill over three days.

One reason for the new spirit of cooperation: changing public opinion.
The latest ABC News-Washington Post poll shows republicans have narrowed the gap with President Obama on who's most trusted to handle the economy.

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