Washington (CNN) - House Majority Leader Eric Cantor criticized President Obama for failing to address entitlement reform in his budget that was delivered to Capitol Hill Monday, and pledged that the House Republican budget coming out this spring would wade into the controversial area.
Cantor promised the GOP budget blueprint would be "a serious document that will reflect the type of path we feel we should be taking to address the fiscal situation – including addressing entitlement reforms."
The number two House Republican contrasted the upcoming GOP budget proposal with that of the Democrats, noting, "Unlike the President, unlike Harry Reid who doesn't even admit there needs to be any reform of Social Security. We are going to lead."
But at a press conference right after Cantor's weekly session with reporters, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan dodged repeated questions about how he would address entitlement reform in the budget he will draft, though he acknowledged he's personally advocated a controversial plan that calls for partially privatizing Social Security and Medicare.
"It's premature to talk about what's going to be in our budget given it's something that hasn't been written," he said. "We have to have a family conversation to get consensus."
But when a reporter said Cantor just promised that entitlements would be included, the Budget Chairman concurred that Republicans "need to go there."
"We have to tackle entitlements or they will tackle us," Ryan said.
Cantor said GOP reforms would focus on those Americans aged 54 or younger and made a point to say Republicans would not change benefits for those over 55.
"We're going to have to have to have some reforms to these systems in order to save them, " Cantor said.
Pressed on whether the GOP plan would include benefit cuts or changes to when Americans can access benefits, Cantor declined to offer any details, saying "all of it's on the table."
Cantor wouldn't say whether the Republican budget would address both Social Security and Medicare, the two major programs responsible for the bulk of federal mandatory spending.
A bipartisan fiscal commission created by President Obama failed to come to consensus last year on ways to reform Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. With the President opting not to include specific proposals in his budget, it is unclear how far Congress and the White House will get in dealing with the issue this year.
The top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee Jeff Sessions, Alabama, summed up the difficulty.
"Now we're faced with taking on something as complex as entitlements, as deeply emotional as entitlements, and the president of the United States is not even in the game? Doesn't even suggest it has to be done?"