DANVILLE — Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said he hopes that President Barack Obama's bipartisan commission to reduce the national debt "won't be just another aimless commission that makes a report that nobody pays attention to."
Obama will sign an executive order Thursday to create the commission. It reportedly will be chaired by Democrat Erskine Bowles, former chief of staff for President Bill Clinton, and Republican Alan Simpson, a former senator from Wyoming.
Speaking Wednesday to the Danville-Boyle County Chamber of Commerce, McConnell said "the commission approach is the right way to go." McConnell said he will recommend three senators to be on the commission, but he wouldn't name those picks.
"The only instruction I'm going to give them is that I think the problem is that we're spending too much, not that we're taxing too little," he said.
McConnell said he would like the commission "to come up with a way to deal with our large unfunded mandate problem: Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid. We have massive unfunded liabilities because we have promised way more than we can possibly deliver."
The commission's report won't be finished until after the November elections.
After the speech, McConnell was asked about the troubles facing Toyota, which has announced one recall after another.
"I think we're in a discovery process here in which Toyota is trying to satisfy the consumers. And I think, so far, they've been very responsible in trying to respond to the concerns everybody has."
Also, McConnell and other congressional leaders are set to meet with Obama on Feb. 25 to try to find common ground on health reform. McConnell told the audience at the Danville Country Club that he doesn't know whether that meeting will be "just a show-and-tell, made-for-TV event, or whether it has a level of seriousness about it."
If Obama "wants to move to the political center, there will be plenty of Republicans there to help him do things important for the country," McConnell said.