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. jason

    To Indie PA-

    I agree about Social Security but I think you've been watching to much Lou Dobbs. Illegals pay into the system of Social Security thru employer deducted payroll taxes. They are NEVER able to then claim those benefits later on. So they pay in and get nothing in return.

    I think where your talking points should focus is on the welfare apect as the main sticking point for "illegals, illegals" fear mongering that gets spewed out by Dobbs. But even that, is just a tiny miniscule sliver of our welfare budget. And eliminating one big corporations welfare package they get from the Republicans would essentially pay for those beneifts.

    November 25, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  2. Debby

    Yep okay every President has said they would go page by page when they take office it hasn't happened yet.

    November 25, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  3. FreeNLovIt

    To Cori from CO

    I dreamed and wanted Hillary for Prez, but I believe Obama is the man for the job. The Obama team has the management skills and judgement to sweep every corner of America. They will server America well. The Clintons have the experience and they too, will serve us well. Currently , the two BEST poltiical rivals are FUSED at the hips. Obama's team will manage and the Clinton BRAIN will power it. THis is the best of the best running the country. The next step is for all of us to PRAY. We have been ushered into a new Anti-Christ age so just BUCKLE up.

    November 25, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  4. 1/20/13

    I will be happy if the %40 who dont pay taxes actually start paying the piper epecially since they use majority of the services. I keep reading from you people those who make over 250K have had a free trip over the last 8 years give me a break.......It is called education and hard work, try it instead of soaking off me.

    What do you liberals like to call the lazy and enemployed "Going Through Hard Times"

    November 25, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  5. CJ

    Mr. Obama YOU ROCK!!! This man will work tirelessly for this country and it's people and anyone who can't see that is just plain stupid. He is not a miracle worker and please don't expect miracles. The village idiots (oops, I mean the current administration) have done nothing and frankly don't care. All we get are smiles from them because each of them can now ride off into the sunset of the priviledged few. They never had a clue. But Mr. Obama, wow, intelligence and a great work ethic. We've made a good choice folks! This man doesn't waste a minute! A choice by the people, for the people. What could be better.

    November 25, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  6. Obama Victim

    The Messiah has become a Republican...............welcome aboard

    November 25, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  7. FreeNLovIt

    To Office of the President-Elect

    Obama arrogant? I think Obama wanted to take some time off and relax, but he doesnt quite have an option. It's a good thing he's on top of things. This shows he CARES about AMERICA.

    November 25, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  8. Brian from Fort Mill, SC

    Michael November 25th, 2008 1:15 pm ET

    Obama need to take a step back and let President Bush take care of the economy. He'll have his chance soon enough.
    It seems that Bush himself wants Obama to start early. This is being done with W's blessing (go figure!)

    November 25, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  9. Kim

    How refreshing to see the proactiveness of the incoming administration. Very little of this would be necessary if GWB and pals hadn't nearly destroyed this country. At this point in his "presidential-elect' phase, all GWB was worried about was how fast he and his cowboys could invade Iraq. Your no- mission- accomplished presidency is UP, George. Please don't ask anyone in America for references on your upcoming job search.

    November 25, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  10. KG

    I'm still laughing about that one clown calling the notion of an "Office of the President-elect" an insult to our moral family values.

    November 25, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  11. Otto

    Funny...the people complaining will be the first ones reaching for a hand out.

    Mr. Obama has a little less than two months before taking office AND you folk have started the attack game already.

    Where were you over the past eight years of madness; did you really like what you received?

    Oh wait; you are the very wealthy who will be saked to pay a little more taxes and given the fact that you have all made hundreds of millions already, giving back a little should be ok for now.

    November 25, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  12. Remy

    Obama is with more ambitions to become a good president. He is very cautious about the mistakes others made in the past.

    That is a good attitude for a top CEO of a country. Americans will praise Obama for ever!

    November 25, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  13. karen-phoenix

    How wonderful to have man "take the bull by the horns" and get something done!!! Bush is just standing around with his tumb you know where and can not put a sentence together let alone understand what his administration has done to this country!!!
    Thank you sooooo much for taking charge President Obama and bless you and your team. You have big job ahead of you but this week I feel like we have a true leader that cares about the American people and not just the very wealthy and what they can get out of the poor!!!

    November 25, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  14. kelly WI

    Sounds like his advisors are talking some sense into him.
    Do not raise capital gains or any other taxes.
    As written in Real Clear Politics, Obama doesn't know anything about economics. Its just that McCain admitted it.
    He needs a good cabinet with people who know what they are talking about since he doesn't know anything. They will make the policies an he will go along with it. Just a figure head.

    November 25, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  15. David in Dallas

    It is all imaginary. Out of arrogance, Mr. Obama invents the "Office of the President-Elect," there is no such office in existence.

    Point in fact, if you go to Chicago, you'll find the Office of the President-Elect exists, and that it's guarded by Secret Service, filled with paid staff doing important work, and headed by President-Elect Obama.

    The fact that it's not in the constitution doesn't mean he doesn't have an office to work out of. It just means his office has no constitutional authority.

    You can call it arrogant if you want, but even President Bush recognizes the importance of Obama using this time to lay the groundwork for his presidency, and IMHO Bush has been remarkably accommodating.

    November 25, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  16. Tulsa

    Office of the President-Elect
    What would you have him call it?
    How about, The Office of the Guy Who is Taking Over for the Bumbling Boob Who Got Us Here?

    November 25, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  17. Angie

    TO Hopeful for Tomorrow November 25th, 2008 12:30 pm ET
    I actually think the transition team has done more than the sitting Administration.


    November 25, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  18. LyonsPhilly

    I will say an extra prayer for all the Obama haters......I know you all still can't believe he won but it's going to be ok....this is your chance to show your human side....

    November 25, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  19. rusell


    November 25, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  20. Independent

    I donated $25 to Obama and then I bought that $75 Runway to Change bracelet (which turned out to be a dog collar) from the Obamastore. But even I think Obama is being too loud about his plans for when he takes the presidency. As he stated before, there is one government at a time.

    He definitely needs to be working and putting together a team, and formulating a plan. And I understand that a lot of people, especially on here, feel that Bush is incompetent and Obama is competent, and therefore Obama should just take over now. That is what makes them okay with Obama doing anything that he chooses to do right now.

    But I feel that to be respectful of our Constitution, Obama should do everything he is doing quietly, and not make announcements about it. I don't know if I would call it arrogance like the below poster, but I do feel it's wrong.

    It doesn't matter how much you hate Bush or how much he makes your blood boil. Respect for the Presidential Office and for the Constitution means respecting it no matter who is presently in office.

    November 25, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  21. Will, NJ

    I don't need to care what anyone says about Mr. Obama anymore, he's been elected, I'm happy and everyone else can learn to deal.

    November 25, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  22. D&D

    To Cori from Colorado November 25th, 2008 12:47 pm ET

    If you still feel Hillary Clinton should've been the next president, then you are just like John McCain during the Campaign, YOU DON'T GET IT, and I wonder if you will ever do!

    November 25, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  23. JAS

    Well thank God there is a PRESIDENT ELECT. People like you need prayer.

    Maybe you will be happy with My President Elect going into hiding until
    innauguration day??? May peace be with you.

    November 25, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  24. Faith Restored

    Cori and Office of the President Elect...Bawhahahaha! You two haters made my day. I love how underestimation by those of your ilk are exactly why you have to hail to the incoming chief...44th President of the United States of America....Barack Obama. Don't choke on it now you here! *wink* *wink*

    November 25, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  25. Ronanld W Menges Sr

    Does no one listen to what President Elect Barack Obama says? He told us where some of the money for the new budget was coming from. A lot of the money will come from cut programs that do not work. I believe that there is enough wasted money in the current budget to pay for a lot what is needed. I am much impressed with the picks for the cabinet; President Elect Barack Obama is making to lead us out of this mess. In his campaign, Barack Obama, said he did not yes men in his cabinet, but those who would challenge him, so he could make good decisions. I see that he is keeping the statement he made. I believe that he will try to keep all of his promises. However, we must give him time to do it. RWM

    November 25, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
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