November 25th, 2008
02:22 PM ET
4 years ago

Obama says budget reform is not optional

Obama tapped Orszag to lead OMB with Nabors as his deputy.

Obama tapped Orszag to lead OMB with Nabors as his deputy.

CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN) - President-elect Barack Obama pledged Tuesday to go through the federal budget "page by page, line by line" to eliminate excessive spending and get the economy back on track.

"If we are going to make the investments we need, we also have to be willing to shed the spending that we don't need," Obama said at a news conference in Chicago, Illinois.

"In these challenging times, when we're facing both rising deficits and a sinking economy, budget reform is not an option. It's a necessity," he said.

Watch Obama call for 'smarter' government

Obama said that he has selected Peter Orszag as his nominee for director of the Office of Management and Budget.

Orszag, the head of the Congressional Budget Office, is an expert on health care, pensions and Social Security policy. He worked at the Clinton White House as special assistant to the president at the National Economic Council and served on the Council of Economic Advisers.

The move comes a day after the president-elect announced key members of his economic team, including New York Federal Reserve President Tim Geithner as his choice for treasury secretary and former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers as his selection for chief of the National Economic Council.

Obama said Tuesday that there will be more announcements as he fleshes out the rest of his economic team.

Those named to Obama's economic team already have started working on crafting an economic recovery plan. Obama's team also must figure out how best to allocate the rest of the $700 billion bailout that Congress passed in October.

Obama said he hopes the new Congress will begin work on an aggressive economic recovery plan when it convenes in January so his administration can "hit the ground running."

An economic stimulus package is central to Obama's plan. Obama on Monday declined to speculate how big the stimulus would need to be, saying, "We are going to do what's required to jolt this economy back into shape."

Estimates for how much might be spent on a multiple-year stimulus package range as high as $500 billion to $700 billion. At the center of the plan are investments in the nation's roads, bridges, schools and alternative-energy infrastructure. Obama has said his plan will lead to the creation of 2.5
million jobs.

"At this moment, we need to restore both confidence in the markets and restore confidence of middle-class families, who find themselves working harder, earning less and falling further and further behind," he said Monday.

Obama said that the recovery will not happen immediately and predicted that the economy likely would get worse before it gets better.

"To make the investments we need, we'll have to scour our federal budget, line by line, and make meaningful cuts and sacrifices," he said.

Despite the problems facing his administration, Obama said Monday that he is "hopeful about the future."

"I have full confidence in the wisdom and ingenuity of my economic team and in the hard work, courage and sacrifice of the American people," he said.

Obama also is expected to give key Cabinet positions to two of his former presidential rivals, but those announcements are not expected Tuesday.

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson is expected to be named secretary of commerce, and Obama aides also have said that Obama is "on track" to nominate Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York as his secretary of state after Thanksgiving.

(Updated 12:30 p.m.)

Filed under: Obama transition
soundoff (267 Responses)
  1. Steph

    The adults are back in charge. Yeah! Oh, wait, not until Jan. 20th. Can't we all vote to give Bush an early retirement?

    November 25, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  2. Tulsa

    finally. a voice of reason in the white house.

    November 25, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  3. Timothy

    Obama is the son of a Jewish mother, must mean he is Jewish...which would explain the majority of his cabinet and key position choices thus far. He was put in there to promote the Zionist agenda of one world government and bring the US under the heel of the blasphemer! They will not succeed.

    November 25, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  4. Thomas

    Not that I am complaining, but has anybody seen "W" lately? Seems Barack Obama has become de facto President even before inauguration. Not a bad idea, really.

    November 25, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  5. Soccer Nana

    Americans must accept the fact that things will get worse before it getting better. We will get through this and become a much better Country and better citizens because of it.

    November 25, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  6. Hopeful for Tomorrow

    I actually think the transition team has done more than the sitting Administration.

    November 25, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  7. Kel in Auburn, AL

    Obama is going to be a great President. He's been doing everything right, taking leadership, selecting the right team, and shouldering real responsibility during this crisis.

    Go O!

    November 25, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  8. Foreign Policy

    Let us see how he handles unexpected events such as 9/11 and all kinds of natural disasters. So far, all we have seen is promises, and cirticism of George Bush, to get elected, without any records or achievements of his own. It is the same old Democratic party's policy, nothing new, as human beings are imperfect, limited and sinful. It is the global problems, economically, polically and militarily, not just Obama's rheotric, "playing" with the mind, emotion and psychology of the the American people.

    November 25, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  9. anticlintonite

    i am sure sos hillary, and her new presidential cabinet, will manage our country well.

    November 25, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |

    I love how positive and steadfast Barack is.


    November 25, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  11. Michael watching from Canada

    Obama is doing his best to get the economic team in place as quickly as possible. And yet, pundits and critics are complaining that he has not given any details about his plan!! Please use common sense. How can anyone give details to a plan when the team has just been out into place? It takes time, especially to work a very complex series of economic challenges. And besides, Obama doesn't become President for two more months!

    November 25, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  12. Praetorian

    No question he and his team will be running.....
    The big questions are: –what will they be running towards?....can they get most of us to "run" with them?

    November 25, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  13. Frann Altman in CA

    As well as red penciling unncecessary spending, I'd like to see not just jobs but goods creation, perhaps through green products. We need to move from being so much of a services nation back to a goods/products manufacturing nation. If so many foreign car manufacturers build here, why do we send out?

    November 25, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  14. rm

    This is great!!! Obama is doing a wonderful job. I have confidence that he is going to do all he can to get the economy back together. I don't think tha GW should get paid for the rest of his term since he is no longer working.

    November 25, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  15. Office of the President-Elect

    It is all imaginary. Out of arrogance, Mr. Obama invents the "Office of the President-Elect," there is no such office in existence. It is an insult to the constitution and the history of our founding-fathers, the tradition of the American people, our moral family values. A big laugh for the rest of the civilized world, as it is no child-play.

    November 25, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  16. ANGIE

    Thats right Barack hit that ground running, now if Bush would Just step aside and let you do your thing! Real nice to see someone who actually cares about whats going on in this country and the American People.Wish lame duck W Would do something but then again maybe its best he STAY OUT OF IT, ENOUGH DAMAGE HAS BEEN DONE BY HIM. YOU GO BARACK GET THIS COUNTRY ROLLING AGAIN!

    November 25, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  17. Anita from Arizona

    I've been saying Clinton for Secretary of State for months.

    November 25, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  18. Ralph

    It certainly feels good to have a wise leader who understands the complexities of the world in the White House again.

    November 25, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  19. Dave

    what a circus, at least we dont have to pay for the ticket! This is the best entertainment ever, watching the Messiah go back on every single campaign promise he made!

    Most LIBS ever in one room and he talks about budget cuts? Yeah right!!!!!

    It will take less than 12 months to have the deficit at records levels! So where will all the BUSH haters be that were screaming about spending last 8 years, when Obama will out spend that in one year!

    November 25, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  20. Chuck

    Isn't it amazing the difference when you have someone competent going into the White House. It's called taking back America from the right wing nutjobs. To all of you who voted for President Elect Obama, Congratulations on an exquisite choice in leaders.

    November 25, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  21. rena

    Sound like he is keeping his promise to make change for this country like never before. I am hopeful also that he will do everything necessary to get this country running smoothly once again and to bring peace throught the region of all nations. It may not happen over night nor in the next months to come but I believe it will come.

    Therefore, to those who doubt and is waiting for him to fail, keep waiting for you will be waitig for a very long time and that time will be 2016 when his term is over. Yes, you too will enjoy the fruit of this labor even though you doubt and desire that he fail. May God have mercy on you all.

    November 25, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  22. bobmc

    Thank God we have someone in office who gets it. He's surrounding himself not only with the best minds available but with those who are not afraid to roll up their sleeves and get to work.

    I shudder to think what would be going on right now (or perhaps more accurately what would NOT be going on right now) in regard to the economy if McCain had won.

    November 25, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  23. Texas_C

    Interesting! There was nothing in this article about Nabors.

    November 25, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  24. John, Long Beach CA

    I'm more impressed by Obama every day. He will be a great President.

    November 25, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  25. Lou from CT

    In response to OPE – would you rather Mr. Obama sit back on his haunches while the economy goes down the toilet??? I applaud Mr. Obama for putting his cabinet in order and speaking of decisive action to done (hopefully) before he gets into office and then from Day 1 of his administration.

    It sounds like you have some sour grapes in your mouth. Go enjoy them somewhere else.

    November 25, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
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