House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., painted the choice between the Democratic budget and the Republican alternative as a stark choice about the future of the nation.

Pelosi said Thursday that the Democratic budget, which is modeled from a proposal sent to Capitol Hill by President Barack Obama and is expected to pass the House later in the day, is truly is a statement of our national values, emphasizing fairness and responsibility.

Republican leaders, however, charge that the Democratic budget proposal is irresponsible, resulting in bloated spending programs, tax increases and a ballooning deficit.

The difference of opinion on this budget is indeed a difference of principle, Pelosi said. This budget will give tax cuts to 95 percent of the American people, [restoring] fairness, more fairness, to the tax code.

She added that the Democratic proposal was based on fairness that says health care is a right, not a privilege and that we can move forward toward universal, quality, accessible health care for all Americans.

Pelosi also noted that the budget proposal moves the government in the direction of a balanced budget by dramatically reducing federal budget deficits.

Had we not had all the economic issues and financial crisis over the past few months we could have done [better] . Nonetheless, it's responsible in that way, she said. It's responsible also on how we become less energy dependent on foreign oil.

The budget also builds on previous measures to invest in education and reform the health care system, which will mark historic achievements in both areas, Pelosi said.

We will have done more in the first three months of this year than has been done for decades in terms of advancing health care reform and making it more accessible, she said. We have done more for education than any one time in history.

She added, Security, responsibility, opportunity and fairness. These are principles that we have a difference on.

Pelosi also lambasted the GOP budget alternative.

The Republican proposal is really a hollow shell of a budget, she said. It gives increased tax cuts to the wealthy, makes an assault on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and erases the recovery package which is a source of hope to so many people.

She added, The American people want us to find our common ground where we can, but they did not send us here to split the difference. They want real change and we're here to make a difference.

Meanwhile, House Republican Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, acknowledged the challenges facing the nation but decried the Democratic approach.

I think it's wrong to deal with these challenges by mortgaging the future of our children and grandchildren, Boehner said. The budget that we're considering in the House of Representatives . puts all of the sacrifice back to our kids and grandchildren. It makes no tough choices and it's only tough on them.

He added, The budget before the House, I think, makes the economy worse and will destroy more American jobs. If you just look at the spending in the budget, it's staggering. American families are making sacrifices, they're tightening their belts, but Washington clearly is not.

Boehner touted the Republican alternative as more responsible.

Our budget proposal will curb spending, it creates jobs and controls the debt, he said. We've got an opportunity today to make the right choice . and vote against this big spending plan proposed by the Democrats.

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