WASHINGTON (CNN) – House Republican leaders Wednesday asked for a meeting with President Obama on Thursday to offer major changes to the $825 billion economic recovery package proposed by House Democrats last week.
"The challenge as we see it is to create a plan that helps middle class taxpayers and small businesses without wasting money or exploding our national deficit," the leaders wrote in a letter to the new president. "We believe the economic recovery plan should primarily create real, long term jobs, encourage entrepreneurs, and help average Americans keep more of their money to save and invest."
Rep. Paul Ryan, the top Republican on the House Budget committee, slammed
the Democrats' proposal.
"We can do better than this. We have to do better than this. This bill is not worthy of our new president's signature," he told reporters Wednesday.
Ryan argued that the bill should be aimed at creating jobs in 2009, and cited a GOP analysis of the plan that finds that less than 10 percent of the spending doesn't occur until 2010 or later.
The Wisconsin Republican argued that the main tax provision in the Democrats' plan - cutting payroll taxes - was not an effective way to jump-start the economy.
Republicans want a greater focus on incentives for businesses to create more jobs, instead of direct spending on infrastructure projects.
The Democratic proposal was created at Obama's urging. Last week, Obama
said the plan will save or create up to 4 million jobs and invest in health care, energy and education, among other priorities.
House Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence declined to say whether the Democrats' package would get any Republican support if it didn't change significantly.
Pence said Obama told him at the luncheon following the inauguration Tuesday he wanted to discuss a broad range of issues with House Republicans.