Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday rejected the notion of committing to future budget cuts after the President leaves office as he appointed a fellow Senate Republican to a debt panel to discuss how to reduce the long-term federal deficits.
Partisan speeches and promises of some future cuts after the President leaves office simply won't suffice, McConnell said in a statement.
McConnell appointed Sen. John Kyl, R-AZ to the panel, which Obama wants to start meeting in early May. It will be headed by Vice President Joe Biden.
In a speech last week, President Barack Obama - who has launched a 2012 re-election campaign - blasted as pessimistic Republican proposals for large cuts in federal spending without increasing taxes for wealthier Americans.
Obama proposed a debt failsafe that would make spending cuts and raise taxes in 2014, if Congress had not agreed to a deal by that time. Cuts triggered by the failsafe would not include Medicare, a program which Republicans have targeted for restructuring to save costs.
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on Tuesday said the Obama Administration wanted to reach an agreement in early June to a credible enforcement mechanism so that deficit cutting targets were meaningful.
I think that would provide a very positive signal, that the U.S. was going to get ahead of the nation's deficit problems.
Also on Tuesday, House Majority Leader John Boehner, R-OH, appointed House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-VA to the deficit panel.
Last week Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid appointed Senate Appropriations Chairman Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, and Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont. to the panel
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi appointed Assistant Democratic Leader James Clyburn, D-SC and Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-MD, the ranking member of the House Budget Committee.