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. ShawnT

    Hopeful for Tomorrow November 25th, 2008 12:30 pm ET

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


    100% accurate. Enough said.

    November 25, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  2. Maggie

    Intelligence is coming back to the White House.
    Competency is coming back to the White House.
    Hope is coming back to America.
    The Consitution will once again be the legal foundation of this country, not a 'piece of parchment signed by old guys in white wigs over 200 years ago'.
    America is coming back.

    My gosh, 8 years of stupidity and uselessness, of narcissism and nepotism, of Consitutitonal violations - now we're actually going to have someone who can do the job of the president sitting in the Oval Office.

    This has been a long time coming.

    November 25, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  3. An American

    Obama is doing what he has to do. Any person who got into office right now would have to do the same. It is a necessity to get the Country on the right track, and the people surrounding Obama will do just that, not the so-called President-Elect – what is that!!

    Also the standing President (Bush) will step aside when it is time to do so.

    Mr. "President-Elect" are you going to put your hand on the "Holy Bible" when you are sworn in like every other true American President has done since the beginning of time?

    November 25, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  4. eds

    CNN: What happened to my post?
    Nothing offensive in it.

    Just expressing my appreciation and gratitude for Obama's forsight, determination and intelligence. He is thinking everything thru and preparing for the daunting task he is taking over. He seems to me to have put more thought into where the country should be going and how to get it there in 3 weeks than Bush's admin had done in 8 years.

    To Office of the President-Elect:
    Your comments defy reason. What a crock.

    November 25, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  5. Boise, ID

    Lord, please bless the intellectually less fortunate souls that believe in trickle down economics. Grant them enough intelligence to see through the fear tactics of those that seek to use them for their own gain. Please allow them to see that you cannot blame Clinton for the eight years after his presidency (Future) while blaming the Democratic Congress for our current situation (Present) and Obama for the two months prior to his Presidency (Past). Please show them that people with different colors on their skin are every bit as good if not better than themselves. Grant them the humility to realize that they have no right to project their own flawed morals upon others that seek to share their lives together in peace and tolerance. Show them that you cannot drill for more oil and protect our planet at the same time. Lord, please raise the price of gas continuously until we finally find something else. Please teach them how to spell so they don't look so dumb when they try to respond to this.

    November 25, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  6. TyWebb

    Laura – you sound like everybit of what we don't need in this country.

    November 25, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  7. Ohio for Obama- Suburbs

    Why are we still posting question that Hillary should be President. Just to answer your question, Hillary would most certain have almost the same team Obama is putting together. I'll prefer a Experience team who have tackle these problems before versus a team of unknown who never faced this sort of challenges before. Only image who would be on Mccain team. ouch!!!
    We need to bail out the banks and auto.

    November 25, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  8. Michael

    Obama need to take a step back and let President Bush take care of the economy. He'll have his chance soon enough.

    November 25, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  9. Boise, ID

    Obama = Good

    November 25, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  10. PoliticoMike

    OMG, how can you call this man arrogant?? Seriously, after the last 8 years you can honestly find yourself calling Obama arrogant. Wow! I guess haters will always be haters!!
    GO in your hole and cry some more.

    November 25, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  11. Lori

    Maybe "Office of the President-Elect" would like to help move things along by having Bush and Cheney's airline schedules booked for the Hague war crimes tribunal. C'mon, I've got moral family values too, I just don't think an alcoholic and his friend do–do you?!

    November 25, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  12. California Gold

    I can't even think of where to start after reading Office of the President Elect. Obviously this person never studied beyond the 3rd grade, has not picked up a newspaper, listened to a new program or watched television. Wait a minute! It must be Sarah Palin posting!

    November 25, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  13. bsmith171

    the rookie does not have line item veto.

    bobby rubin, tell him know!

    November 25, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  14. Stacy from Loudoun County VA

    To the Office of President Elect Poster. President Elect Obama is doing more to project calm and present a plan that George le canard. It is not out of any 'arrogance', he is doing something our sitting President does not know anything about: being Presidential. An insult to our founding fathers is leading the American people to war on groundless accusations, spying on its citizens and circumventing the Constitution and the Bill of Rights in the process.

    Not including taking the side of big oil and big business and not the side of the 'We, the People'. An insult to our family values is when a President does not support legislation that allows research that could extend a child or parent's life, or takes the side of insurance rather than the insured. In case you didn't notice, the rest of the world says "Thank you for electing Obama".

    November 25, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  15. Larry

    Talk the talk Obama,the Democrats in Congress will have not let anybody kill there pork barrel projects-welcome to Washington !!You better start buttering up the Republicans if you expect to cut cost on anything--It's all B.S. for the press anyway !!

    November 25, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  16. Tara

    Chris...Does Bush know how to take a note? lol

    November 25, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  17. Debbie

    Office of the President-elect: Do you really see the rest of the civilized world laughing at Barack? If so, take your medicine. It's dangerous to be out there unmedicated. They aren't laughing - they are cheering.
    Bush treated this job as child's play for eight years, destroying our constitution, our economy, and our environment. He certainly seems to be trying to get his last shots in for repealing all environmental protection laws. Does that bother you and your "moral family values"? What about Obama and the "Office of the President-Elect" bothers you so much? Maybe it's time we do create that as a position since he's the only one who's actually leading the country right now.
    This country will always be brought down by the ignorant among us...

    November 25, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  18. It's too graphic

    Does he have a blue sign ready for the presidential bathroom?


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

    Office of the President Elect needs to find something to do with his/her time. I find it quite refreshing to have someone capable of understanding the economy, job creation, the market and the budget getting ready to hit the ground running for US. I am sure some government programs will be cut come January 20 but we really need to suck it up and do more for ourselves. Change is not always pleasant...but we're getting no where in a hurry. Go Barack

    November 25, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  20. pascal

    Am impressed with OBAMA and l hope he will do everythings in power to return this great Nation on tract .Now he is showing power of intelligent that is very positive and l pray hard for him .

    November 25, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  21. Steve

    If Obama can do as much as President as he already has as President-Elect (putting together a second-to-none transition team), we're in for a GREAT 8 years! He not only talks CHANGE, he seems to be walking the talk. Nice to have a President (Elect) we can look up to and respect again for a change. I look for great things from our future First Lady, too!

    November 25, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  22. KD

    This is in response to : Office of President-Elect

    Just by your shear ignorance, you must be from Alaska !!!

    November 25, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  23. Dave

    Wow, an intelligent president, who talks to the American people like they're adults.

    This is going to take some getting used to! I'll be glad to make the adjustment, though. If anyone's ever been dealt a handful of really bad cards, it's Obama; Bush and the Republicans have created a hellacious mess that's going to be difficult to undo. But if anybody can play those bad cards well, it'll be Barak.

    November 25, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  24. Greed is not good

    Sounds like a plan. There is too much waste and corruption due to the influence-peddling of lobbyists that literally write their own legislation to bankroll agendas.

    Time to trim the excess and greed of the big $ lobbies. Corrupt politicians need to take heed and stop taking bribes.

    November 25, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  25. New Day

    Micheal – you're kidding, right? Letting Bush take care of the economy is akin to letting Micheal Vick take care of your dog.

    November 25, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
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