WASHINGTON -- House Speaker John Boehner says President Barack Obama deserves some credit for what Boehner calls incremental entitlement reforms in his budget proposal.

But Boehner says he hopes Obama will not "hold hostage" those reforms in his demand for higher taxes. He says Obama got a tax hike as part of the "fiscal cliff" negotiations at the end of last year and that further tax increases were not needed.

The Obama budget envisions reducing the federal deficit through a combination of higher taxes on the wealthy and trimming benefit programs such as Social Security.

Boehner said the two sides should concentrate on what they can agree on and held out hope that in the coming weeks that Republicans and the White House could find common ground on ways on deficit reduction.