November 25th, 2008
02:22 PM ET
4 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. ANGIE

    MICHAEL
    Thanks but no thanks enough of Bush already we are trying to save our Economy and country not destroy it more!

    November 25, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  2. sound board

    Cori from Colorado,

    Obama and Hillary have two different mandates that is the difference. The supporting team can be similar, but very different directions.

    Using sports as analogy! When teams are underperforming, the board look to change the top line management, namely the team coach, hoping to give a different strategy and breathe of fresh air.

    Don't worry, Hillary will get a shot at the top job come 2012!

    November 25, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  3. hooverguide

    Anyone remember the scene from DAVE where he led the cabinet in a line item review of spending and put the axe to the pork? We, the people, remain hopeful this scene will become reality.

    November 25, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  4. Sara K

    To office of the president elect:

    Are you kidding? Or just mentally incapacited?
    The civilized world has been laughing for 8 years at the current administraion and the ignorant people like you who voted them in TWICE! The joke is finally over. Perhaps you should put your Bible, your rifle, and your Rush Limbaugh fan club membership card down and try traveling the world. You'd find the laughter has been replaced with hope and admiration.

    Your opinion is a joke. Try finding something constructive to do. Books are your friends.

    November 25, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  5. Joel

    Office of the President-Elect: Why is it insulting to our morals for President-elect Obama (I love typing that!) to establish this office? I think it's great that he is informing us of his intentions rather than holing up in an office and claiming "pre-Executive privlege" any time he's asked a question. There was no Department of Homeland Security before it was created. Was it an insult to our Constitution, history, tradition, and moral family values (what does that even mean?) to create it?

    And to Cori: Hillary did not win, get over it already! SHE DID NOT WIN, AND WILL NEVER WIN! Be happy President-elect Obama got elected. He has almost no difference in policy issues from Hillary. The big difference is Hillary would not have this huge amount of goodwill built up as President-elect Obama does. If you think President-elect Obama is getting it badly (see: post from Office of the President-Elect) please know that Hillary would be getting is 1000x worse.

    November 25, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  6. Steven

    RE: "Obama need to take a step back and let President Bush take care of the economy. He'll have his chance soon enough." He sat back all this time, said there was only one president, and said it again today, but every pundit, and many more people have been begging for him to say something. Now he cautiously says something, and you want him to keep quiet again. I ask you Michael, where is Bush?

    November 25, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  7. Jack V.

    Clearly, he can't fulfill all his promises

    November 25, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  8. Joe Regis

    Obama is right to step up to the plate for an Obama recovery as soon as possible if necessary beginning next month.

    Let the plan and Obama recovery begins!

    November 25, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  9. Gisele from NY

    Hopeful for Tomorrow wrote "I actually think the transition team has done more than the sitting Administration." I agree. Amen!

    November 25, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  10. Beverly, NYC

    Michael November 25th, 2008 1:15 pm ET : WROTE, Obama need to take a step back and let President Bush take care of the economy. He'll have his chance soon enough.

    Michael surely you jest!!. What is Bush going to do in 56 days to make up for the past 8 yrs? As far as I'm concerned he could move back to Texas NOW and no one would notice given the
    non-leadership he has shown during this crisis.

    November 25, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  11. FreeNLovIt

    Our economy is like a FAT man, dying of a heart-attack, and the doctor is OFF-DUTY. The more we can do now to help people, the better off we'll be. The more the OFF-DUTY doctor can do something about the heart-attack, the better off the FAT man will be.

    November 25, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  12. Sylvia

    I think just getting an intelligent leader in the driver's seat reduces my anxiety about the economy knowing that he is hitting the ground running. I think some people speak their mind out of envy and fear. There will always be people that will be afraid of change. I have total confidence in my President elect, Barrack Obama and his team. This is history in the making where a President elect takes charge while while the current President waiting for his time to run out, which happened along time ago at the expense of the taxpayers.

    November 25, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  13. New Thinker

    The election is over. Now is the time to fully support the President Elect who is inheriting formidable problems. The sooner everyone pulls together...the sooner we'll get out of this mess. Negativity only tears this country down, it doesn't build it up. Let's Roll!

    November 25, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  14. S. Boatman Warrensburg Mo.

    Obama Is Not Even The President Yet And He Is Doing A Better Job Than Bush! Bush Is Not Doing Anything Except Giving Pardons To His Criminal Friends!

    November 25, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  15. Peggy - TX

    The invention of the "Office of the President-Elect," demonstrates Obama’s extraordinary leadership skills in this time of crisis. There is nothing imaginary about it at all. . He provides access for those who have a need to access him in anticipation of his pending position as leader of the free world. There is a physical office, staffed and organized around the issues Obama is presently involved with. He is approaching this task in the organized and effective manner in which he ran his campaign. His efforts are having a positive effect on stabilizing the market and if he did not do this he would be criticized much more for not doing what he can, especially considering the financial melt down going on right now.

    November 25, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  16. House Flipping?

    Does anyone know how much the practice of "house flipping",have to do with the housing and mortgage crisis we now face.I dont hear it mentioned,but my friends in the market say they are hiding it.

    November 25, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  17. Bill in DC

    To Cori from Colorado:

    Quit the whining about Hillary, will you! Please, you sound like a an idiot.

    Hillary didn't win. The best candididate won. Got it? And as for your ridiculous remark that Obama is using Clinton people to run the country (or something like that) let me remind you that POLICY effects change, not the identity of someone's past employer.

    Obama '08–'12

    November 25, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  18. Dawn

    America would be really be up a creek if we had to wait until March, 2009.
    That was the way it was prior to the 20th admendment.
    President -Elect is working forward for our country because of the degree of working backward by our current President and his Cabinet.
    They might need to hold a press conference together soon or a prayer breakfast in the White House before January 20th.

    November 25, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  19. FreeNLovIt

    Hillary 2012?? If we dont STICK together NOW, there will be NO AMERICA,. We need to make sure we PLANT our roots NOW firmly in long-term goals to see light at the end of the tunnel in 2016. I remembered I was watching a documentary on some firemen/policemen and when Katrina struck, they HELD on to a twiggy plant outside the office. The TWIG had its root deeply entranched on Mother Earth and it saved them all. A TWIG withstanding Katrina? Yes, all in the name of being deeply rooted....

    November 25, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  20. PJP

    When Mr Obama takes office, and he has not or cannot take it yet, then after the real Obama shows himself, then all of you that are four him, can sit back and wonder how the man got into office. He is going to put us back into the same fix that Clinton left us with and that Bush has tried to fix for the last eight years. So go ahead and laugh it up while you can because one day you will be crying so hard you won't be able to see your hand in front of your face.

    November 25, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  21. j. williams

    OFFICE of the PRESIDENT ELECT !!!! what a pompus, egotistical, elitist person...Barry Obama is truly a con artist from Chicago

    November 25, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  22. Change - Yeah Left

    How can it be a SMARTER government when the people leading it are all the same players from a different administration?

    It's not change, it's not smarter – it's what people said of the other candidate – MORE OF THE SAME!!!

    CNN – why won' t you post my comments?

    November 25, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  23. Florida Joe

    Office of the President-Elect

    The American people need to see our President elect because our current "President" has been MIA on the economy for the past 8 years.

    Finally, a President that can hold a news conference without butchering the English language........

    55 days left...Hang in there America

    November 25, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  24. Parrots All

    How many ways are there to restate what the media is saying? I see it all over these boards. I sure hope this new administration does a good job, because judging by most comments here, it is evident that the American public has lost its ability to think critically.

    November 25, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  25. NY Republican

    BRAVO, BRAVO, BRAVO – This is the best I've heard yet from our President-Elect!!!!!! You have my whole-hearted support on this one. May this "trickle down" to state and local budgets as well. Albany Democrats are you listening to your President-Elect? Feel free to follow suit!!!!

    November 25, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
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