November 25th, 2008
02:22 PM ET
7 months 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. Washington Observer

    This is a joke/ 85% of this country's budge is in defense, social security, and other entitlement programs. Unless Obama is willing to attack these issues (which he isn;t) and budget cutting is reminicient of Jimmy Carter who also promised to go line by line in the federal Budget with its millions of line items. This notion of budget cuts is window dressing and disingenuous. My, how quickly Obama is learning to play the DC stay in power at all costs game

    November 25, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  2. Z

    The rate on the bridge loan was reduced to 3 percentage points over 3-month Libor from 8.5 points over Libor – currently 5.24%, compared to 10.74%. On the unused portion, AIG now has to pay 0.75% interest, down from 8.5% in the original deal.

    I want this deal for my mortgage with my bank. 8.5% interest rate down to 0.75%....wow....that would get the econmony running in no time if everyone had a rate below 2 percent. How about everyone's credit cards too. The Feds would not have to bail out anybody.....most loans would not fail but the banks would only make a tiny profit.....wow just a tiny profit.....hmmmmmmmm

    November 25, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  3. Z

    Update on AIG Loan:

    The rate on the bridge loan was reduced to 3 percentage points over 3-month Libor from 8.5 points over Libor – currently 5.24%, compared to 10.74%. On the unused portion, AIG now has to pay 0.75% interest, down from 8.5% in the original deal.

    I want this deal for my mortgage with my bank. 8.5% interest rate down to 0.75%....wow....that would get the econmony running in no time if everyone had a rate below 2 percent. How about everyone's credit cards too. The Feds would not have to bail out anybody.....most loans would not fail but the banks would only make a tiny profit.....wow just a tiny profit.....hmmmmmmmm

    November 25, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  4. Steve

    Dear Mr. Orzag.........FIX SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE!!!!!

    November 25, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  5. BJ

    And after he gets done reading the budget (how many volumes is it now?), what is he going to do? Remember, there is still no line item veto...he either accepts the entire budget, or rejects the entire budget...

    November 25, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  6. I'm Not Missing The Old Mule & Winky Half-baked Alaska

    And meanwhile back at the ranch, George is still trying to fugure out how to be president. So much for cowpie diplomacy and the likes of him!

    November 25, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  7. Swampy

    The Office of the President-Elect has existed since 1964 and is authorized under the Presidential Transistion Act. Learn the facts before you post your stupidity.

    November 25, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  8. JDC

    We hear this BS every time a new President comes in, and government continues to grow like a cancer.

    November 25, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  9. RGB in MN

    All smoke & mirrors. He does not have line item veto, he will not take on the government unions or cut government jobs, so all he can do is ask for them not to spend money and then sit on the butts doing nothing.
    If he wnat st make a statemen, cut fedral jobs, cut federal worker benefits. Practice what you are preaching in the private sector while you are there in the public sector. FREEZE GOVERNMENT HIRING!!!!
    Sallie Mae adding 1100 jobs in a down cycle is ludicrious.

    November 25, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  10. Obama08

    Everyone saddles this on Bush, I like what Obama is doing but realistically Bush is not the only one to blame. I blame Dems and Repubs in Congress. Just always remember be skeptical but respectful and politicians are all crooks in one way or another.

    November 25, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  11. Sandy

    Repub or Dem...this mess is huge and I give President Obama full support in trying to fix this mess. He has come into a situation that will take some time to turn around and for those who doubt Him step aside and let Him do his job.

    November 25, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  12. SDunn

    Independent November 25th, 2008 3:48 pm ET

    Obama will go through the budget page by page, line by line?

    Well, duh. It's his job as President! The question is whether he can submit a balanced budget… And just by looking at his position on the bailout, I'm incredulous that he can do so…
    -------------------------------
    And I'm sure President Bush did just that, right? Give me a break.

    November 25, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  13. Tulsa

    inat2 November 25th, 2008 12:54 pm ET

    does he need to give a speech EVERY day? Geesh.
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Actually, since he came out with his economic team 2 days ago, the DOW has had it's biggest 2 day increase in history.
    YOU IDIOT.
    Why don't you at least get your facts straight.

    November 25, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  14. Sherrol in Canada

    Amen! Exaclty what is needed...........

    November 25, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  15. Line item Veto anyone?

    What Mr. Obama is claiming to be able to do is a "Line Item Veto". Congress has refused this privilege to every President. The President must accept or reject a budget bill in its entirety. Congress will NEVER give this up simply because it is how they get re-elected to their Senate and House "seats for life". Mr. Obama knows this. He is just telling us what he wants us to hear, yet again. Empty talk, Empty promises, Empty suit. It all leads to empty pockets.

    November 25, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  16. SDunn

    david November 25th, 2008 3:31 pm ET

    hope obama has the spine to make the tough decisions and cut, cut, cut then cut some more. states, counties, cities need to do the same and now. obama needs to move faster, announce plans faster, announce appointments or potential appointments faster. if i was his drill instructor, i would be hollering in his ears "move, move, move!"
    ------------------------------–
    David, President Bush is still the President in case we haven't forgotten and what exactly is he doing right now??? Sitting on his behind. There's only so much the Pres-elect can do right now.

    November 25, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  17. GARY

    Obama is all talk and you naive morons will soon find out.He has to pick the Clintons staff because they are the ones with the know how. thats your by's big Change. What a joke.

    November 25, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  18. Richard A. Spomer

    Watch out for the excessive pork that will be added on, for the good of some Democratic or Republican ticket name Sayers!!!

    President-elect Obama you are in charge of the budget that so many will want to increase taxes in order to fund additional programs. You are the far left liberal that will be seeking a centrist point on the budget
    And you will want to be smooth like former President Clinton when it comes to budgeting!!!

    November 25, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  19. sue

    Steve – the first step to fix Social Security and Medicare is for Congress to STOP raiding the funds from it to pay for other things they want to pay for.

    November 25, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  20. Another Jimmy Carter

    Micromanagement will not work, Mr. Obama. Learn the lesson from Jimmy Carter.

    November 25, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  21. anonymous in Big D

    Absolutely bull! The man is so full of himself, he's going to ruin us all! I cannot believe the number of people sniveling after his every word (which says nothing more than we already know). He thinks the American people are stupid. Well, the ones that voted for him sure are questionable. Unfortunately, when its too late, we will all be in a hole!

    November 25, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  22. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    YES WE CAN BRING THIS COUNTRY BACK FROM THE ASHES OF BUSH'S FAILED POLICIES. YES WE CAN.

    November 25, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  23. Marilyn

    The fall from the pedestal is going to be debastating! You people are placing all your hopes and dreams of Utopia on your Dear Leader. Wait and see what it feels like to elect the American Hugo Chavez and then sink into the misery and agony of Socialism. If you all had any dendrites left in your cerebrum you would know that all this country needs is Reform of Democrat-led initiatives such as the Community Reinvestment Act, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. And of course harsh punishment of abusers such as Democrats Dodd, Frank, Pelosi and Reed.

    November 25, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  24. Anonymous

    Obama uses the term "Office of the President-elect" to let everyone know the difference and that he is not the President. He knows that with all the preparations he is doing that there are those who will criticize him for trying to take over as President as there are some on the blog already doing. Of course there are GOP's who don't want him to succeed and will jump at calling him down for not being ready. Weren't they saying he was not ready to be president? I don't think McCain or even Hillary would be getting ready to take over the office as Obama is now doing as it takes a lot of energy and "smarts" to do all these preparations. While his opponents were busy criticising him, he was quietly carrying on his agenda for change. Forget Hillary Clinton running for president in 2012 or 2016. Age will catch up with her.

    November 25, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  25. dave

    How refreshing to hear a politician say he's going to get tough on the budget! Oh, no, wait. I remember now. They all say that. Then they go back to their offices and print money to pay people off. I'll be impressed if two months from now I'm reading a story that the federal budget actually decreased by 10% or more. I'm holding my breath, starting now...

    November 25, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
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