Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio, assailed the Ryan plan.

Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio, assailed the Ryan plan. Jason Miller/AP

Battling out the GOP spending plan

Reps. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, and Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio, take the debate to <i>Hardball.</i>

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, on Tuesday defended the GOP budget proposal drafted by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., calling a balanced budget “a moral imperative” that Democrats have not yet met.

“The Democrats always call for a balanced approach. The problem I have with it is they've never put forward a plan that actually balances the budget, which I think is a moral imperative,” he said on MSNBC’s Hardball.

But fellow House Budget Committee member Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio, was on hand to counter. Kaptur assailed the “Ryan-Romney budget,” echoing the moniker given the budget earlier Tuesday by President Obama’s reelection spokesman and indicating Democrats are looking to tie GOP front-runner Mitt Romney’s election prospects to the Ryan budget and all of what they consider its drawbacks.

“This is a radical plan," Kaptur said. "The Ryan-Romney budget actually gives tax breaks to the wealthy,” she said, adding that the budget “sticks a dagger in the heart of the middle class of this country.”

Chaffetz and Kaptur also weighed in on the GOP primary season, which has extended past most expectations. Romney is now only at the half-way point in the delegate count, after sweeping Wisconsin, Maryland and the District of Columbia Tuesday. GOP operatives and lawmakers worry that the prolonged race will hurt the party’s chances of taking the White House come November.

Chaffetz echoed these concerns.

“I think it's time for the Republicans’ best interests to coalesce," he said. "I think the best person to beat Barack Obama, who’s got the background, the expertise, and can articulate what needs to happen in this economy, is Mitt Romney. I think the sooner that happens, better off for Republicans up and down the ticket from coast to coast.” Chaffetz endorsed Romney back in July.

“It isn’t about Rick Santorum," he added. "It's about what's best for the party, what's best for the country.”

But Kaptur has high hopes for Obama’s reelection prospects, in part because of “the [GOP's] recent war on women,” she said, referring to the uproar surrounding coverage of birth control and potential reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. She called the Republican Party “radical."

“The American people want someone who's reasonable sitting in the presidency," she said. "They don't want anybody radical. They want someone focused on job creation and someone who knows that as the middle class prospers, we balance our budget."