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. Kim, Charlotte, NC

    katiec......."Saw where they have a fund raiser going to "fight the left;s agenda", That sure tells you they are putting country first??? '

    Couldn't agree with you more.

    November 25, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  2. Realist

    Its good to see him hitting the ground running, I'm curious as far as his stamina however, his track record is short, and he has yet to finish a term in any elected office, we will just have to wait and see.

    November 25, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  3. tiffany jackson

    Bush gives the words "lame duck presidency" a new meaning. Could he just leave the keys under the welcome carpet

    November 25, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  4. Milhouse van Houten

    He is at least saying all the right things at this point.There is going to be a hell of alot of work to be done to right a listing ship,some of it will
    be welcome,some not very,but at least the appearance seems to show that he has a grasp of the magnitude of the problems and what has to be done to fix them.Something the current President never seemed to convey.

    November 25, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  5. sbkilb Ct

    It has been such a long time since we have been able to hear precise,sound understandable and truthful words from our current President. Listening to OBAMA these last weeks as he has confronted and told us the way things are to be dealt with, reaffirms my "hopes" for the economy of this country. Things will be different and difficult no doubt for an extended period of time. But in having OBAMA and the capable team he is forming address these issues head on gives me even more confidence in him than when I voted for him.The road will be winding and bumpy but we will come out of this as a better "United States".

    November 25, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  6. RJ

    There may be no "official" office of the president-elect, but the term has been in existence at least since the Nixon era.

    Accusing Obama of "inventing" this office is like claiming Al Gore "invented" the internet. Both are ridiculous.

    November 25, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  7. Bugtussle High School Grad

    Guess I should have just voted for the Clinton Family Circus.

    November 25, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  8. TyWebb

    Hey, "Office of the President-Elect", at least there were no turkeys getting slaughtered in the background.

    November 25, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  9. Tim

    How stupid can these wing-nuts be? Come on folks.....accept reality.

    November 25, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  10. Ellen Rudolf

    Folks keep talking about Obama's use of the Clinton people for his cabinet. To quarrel about that at a time such as this, is ignorance. Obama would be a fool to not tap the best and brightest to handle the gimormous problem that this country is facing.

    We should all be that humble, and in tune.

    November 25, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  11. Truth will set you free

    Uh.. what happened to the tax you said you would impose on the %5 to get us out of this mess?? Oh you didn't mean that??? That is change alright..

    Change we can all believe in! All politicians lie..

    November 25, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  12. Affable

    To Office of the Pres Elect

    O said we only have one pre at a time or perhaps you didn't notice because you were busy inventing ways to whine..or too ingulfed in your own rhetoric to notice that.. but then you are a repug.. (aka no thought process). There is an office of the president elect (aka transition office).. why not save your whining and crying for real issues..don't worry you'll have 8 yrs to whine so save your bile for a rainy day..

    November 25, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  13. No Hillary = No Obama

    What I don't get is if all these "experts" have been populating the government, the universities, the research tanks, then why are we in the mess we are in? Being an expert doesn't equate with success when it comes to real world realities. Obama can build that brain trust because he really is an elitist. Now let's see if Mr. Change can deliver.

    November 25, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  14. Greg from ATL

    Office of the President-Elect November 25th, 2008 12:36 pm ET

    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.

    Isn't it time now to put all of this silliness away. Somehow I don't think that I would be so bitter if John McCain won instead. He (Mr. Obama) is the President-Elect, if the communications come from his office, then it is the Office of the President-Elect. Look at our economy and just how bad it is, can't you find something better or more productive to discuss or debate? It's a new day and whether you choose to celebrate and stand behind OUR new president doesn't matter. He's still the president and he is currently being very "Presidential" if I do say so myself!

    November 25, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  15. Mike

    Office of the President-Elect

    Look at your 401K if you have one dude! or your stock portfolio. Do you see anything that looks imaginary? You feel like laughing now?

    November 25, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  16. Lolita Aaron

    It seems to me that every time Hank Poulson appears in front of a microphone or the press he looks hunted and haunted.. He looks mentally unstable.. I wonder if he has anxiety and depression issues. He must have if he has a conscience.. Whenever he appears in front of the cameras and makes an announcement.. the stocks go down..
    When Barack Obama appears in front of the cameras, the stocks go up.
    He evokes an aura of calm and stability.

    November 25, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  17. SJC

    Obama must be driving those thick skulled conservatives crazy. He's a well spoken, intelligent, knowledgable, thoughtful confident leader. All this in contrast to Bush and Palin who can't complete a intelligible sentence and have not an ounce of sense between them.

    November 25, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  18. Shari, NY

    Yes, Mr. President-Elect! It is good that you are a fitness buff and not a lazy slob. While you hit the ground running, please trample all manner of evil which has beset this country! Too bad that your task will be akin to that of a glorified janitor who will be expected to clean up and fumigate the land ASAP. Yikes, it sounds like 1830 revisited!!

    November 25, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  19. dan

    Obama forgot to add those fake marble pillars as his backdrop.

    November 25, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  20. anticlintonite

    billary's cabinet is coming along well.

    November 25, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  21. rm


    How are you guys today? Ready to get this country back for our children? I feel great about President-Elect Obama and his forward thinking. Remember guys, we are ignoring the negative comments so that we can enjoy our Thanksgiving with our positive thinking family and friends. Happy Turkey Day!!

    November 25, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  22. Credit Card Republicans

    He sounds more Republcan everyday.

    November 25, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  23. norb

    Nice to see Congress grill the big three for 25 billion. But hey! That 13 billion that was embezzled over in Iraq and the 10 billion it cost to run that war.........................get real people.

    November 25, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  24. Ray Fisher

    It's well past time we finally instilled some fiscal responsibility in our government by tackling the waste and combining like functions. I'd hit Homeland Security first and put it in DOD where it belongs and then overhaul DOD for the new Anti-terror mission, then look at FEMA to replace James Lee Witt's plans making it reliable once again. Dump that stupid No Moron Left Behind stuff and improve education as a whole. President Obama's line by line audit of the budget will provide him the long sought after Line Item Veto after the fact. Hopefully, he can finally end the do nothing Congresses with a work ethic and stop the toe tappers from taking over!!!

    November 25, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  25. Matt B

    "It is amazing how people are complaining about Obama and the man hasn't worked a day as President yet. "

    Brandon, you have a problem with people complaining about the President-Elect but have no problem with people annointing him the next Messiah? Shocking...

    The reality is that Presidents always get things rolling before they take office. It's his arrogance that people are complaining about. He just made his own office with his own sign...just like when he created a presidential seal for himself when he was running for office, just like when he put himself on a Greek Temple stage at the convention, just like when he created his own tv channel. I hope he can pull us out of the mess this administration created but the arrogance is a little much.

    November 25, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
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