Cantor: Americans just want their lives to work again

(CBS News) Barring Congressional action, the looming sequester -- a package of cuts worth $1.2 trillion -- will kick in on March 1 and according to the Congressional Budget Office, could put more than one million jobs at risk. The cuts, which will shrink the defense budget by $55 billion, were designed to be so painful that they would force Congress to devise a better way to trim the deficit, but so far Congress had made little progress toward that goal.

House Republicans say they have passed a bill to replace the sequester with cuts to federal worker pay, food stamps and other programs, but Democrats have pushed back, saying that puts the burden of debt reduction on the poor and middle class. Republicans argue that the Democrats have not offered their own plan for avoiding the sequester, beyond eliminating tax breaks for corporate jet owners and oil companies.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., will be outlining a new agenda for his party Tuesday, calling on Republicans to focus less on the reducing federal spending and budget deficits and more on issues that can "produce results," including education and health care.

Wednesday on "CBS This Morning," Cantor said his speech will not represent an ideological shift for the GOP but rather, "making sure that we can express why we're doing what we're doing."

"We believe very strongly in things like fiscal discipline and not spending money you don't have ... because it helps people," Cantor explained, adding that he will stress that Republican policies can provide Americans help "in terms of giving you an opportunity for quality education [and] trying to help you bring down the cost of health care."

Cantor emphasized that his speech will not include any fundamental policy shifts for the Republican party, but said it will help to explain that "our party has always stood for the conservative philosophy of self-reliance, faith in the individual, [and] accountability in government. ...We're trying ... to explain that these proposals of ours actually can help people."

We'd love to see the Democrats join us," Cantor continued, "to come together to give some relief to the millions of Americans who just want their lives to work again.

Cantor touched on new proposals he will address in the speech, including policies aimed at "empowering parents and giving them a choice for their children's education" and "some proposals that will address the rise in health care costs as a result of the president's health care bill."

Turning to the recentimmigration bill gaining bipartisan support in Congress, Cantor stopped short of endorsing Florida Sen. Marco Rubio's proposal on immigration but did say he "really admire[s] Sen. Rubio and the kind of things he's standing for. I think he's moving in the right direction."

He added, "We've go things that I believe need to be addressed, from border security to worker programs."