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. Joshua College Station Texas


    We must remember it wasn't Hillary who was President before, it was Bill. All those previous Clinton advisors being folded into Obama's new administration were chosen and hired by Bill not Hillary.

    Hillary's political career is best measured by her stint as Senator, not by her husband's tenure as President. In the Senate, she is a minor player. She did not win the election. The better candidate won.

    Serving as Secretary of State will be a huge career boost for her. I think Obama will be back up for reelection in 2012, so Clinton won't be an option.

    Obama is interested in results for the larger good, not politics. It's the rest of us with our special interests that are crying foul.

    November 25, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  2. NY Republican

    BRAVO, BRAVO, BRAVO – Best news I've heard yet out of The Office of the President-Elect (it's OK to call it that, since that's what is is!) This is the sort of "trickle down" we need. NY Democrats in Albany – Are you listening to The President-Elect (one of your own!!) Please, feel free to follow suit!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    November 25, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  3. Fred in SC

    Man we are screwed what are we going to do four more years of a bad situation.

    November 25, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  4. Christine

    "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."

    LOL There WAS an election, and Mr. Obama IS OUR PRESIDENT ELECT! There have always been executive transition teams...and they work just how does this insult "Traditional" American values? (By 'traditional and founding fathers, I certainly hope that you are referring to the Native Americans, otherwise, I take these comments as covert codes for racism and elitist ethnocentricity).

    November 25, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  5. Charles Atlanta

    Obama inherited 10+ trillions of national debt, the interests payment alone will prohibit him to do more things he wants to do. He also faces the great economy meltdown we probably has never seen during our lifetime. He needs great management team and negotiation skills in order to get some programs going and bring back the prosperity. So folks, let's get together and help Obama to move us forward!!

    November 25, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  6. KC

    $800 billion from the Feds, another $700 billion per Obama.....where the heck is this money suppose to come from? Also, the only way to bring the budget back into line in a couple of years (actually decades) will be to raise EVERYONE'S taxes....not just the rich....everyone. Don't be so quick to applaud...this is serious money people.

    November 25, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  7. carol

    What a difference already this team that Obama is putting together is making....he has chosen some excellent people so far and it seems the country is very upbeat about it.
    If it makes such an impact already to the markets etc, what is it going to do for us as a nation when he becomes President....I think he is going to be a fabulous President.
    We must all be aware that nothing is going to be "fixed" overnight and he is not a miracle worker either....but, boy is he going to work like the devil to get this country working again.
    I am so very proud that I voted for him and felt confident from day one that he was "the one" to fix this country..... I am even more proud to call him my President.

    November 25, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  8. JOHN


    November 25, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  9. Spider

    Some of these posters are hilarious.
    Out of one side of their mouths they say, "Give the man a chance, he hasn't even taken office yet."
    Then they say. "He's already done more than the sitting Administration. He's running the country."

    But then, the majority of you jokers voted for the man. A man who had no resume to give you any idea about his political views. A man who preached Hope and Change for two years but never told us how he planned to accomplish anything. A man who has made a bunch of promises that most of you morons will completely forget about because Obama will tell you everything else is on the back burner until the economy is fixed. And he's already told us that may not be fixed in one term.

    November 25, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  10. Maxine

    Remember whose campaign is still in the red and whose campaign isn't.

    November 25, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  11. Ty

    The guy is working prior to starting work, while the sitting prez has been on vacation for the last 4 years...glad to have someone who is at least willing to listen and work...

    November 25, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  12. WantMyMoneyBack

    Budget reform alright. Another $800 billion to banks and credit card companies (so they can lend us our own money) on top of the $1.2 trillion already committed since the Bear Stearns meltdown. That comes out to about $100,000 for every man, woman and child in America. Why don't you just give us the money you are borrowing from us? I know my family of six would quickly pay off my mortgage, all debt, buy new cars, etc. I bet that would do more for the economy than any of these idiots. Some change..... that's all we have left after these idiots get done saving our economy.

    Next election, vote out all the incumbents. They got us into this mess and are attempting to buy there way out with our kids and grand kids future. This second coming of the Clinton administration just goes to prove the old addage, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

    November 25, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  13. Sylvia

    Why is he calling himself "president elect"? Shouldn't he of all people use the correct term even if the press and everyone else isn't smart enough to know better???

    November 25, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  14. Mike

    hey, imagine that !! Someone from the Clinton administration – what a great idea!!! And I thought the Democrats nominated and elected Obama not Hilary "smarter government" or retread? Only the future will tell.

    November 25, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  15. 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 want 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. RWM

    November 25, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  16. AnnMM

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

    Congratulations Michael, you just made the dumbest post on these boards EVER, so stupid I had to give up my personal vow to never follow the crowd and go negative on here.

    November 25, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  17. vic

    I feel so much better knowing Obama is working hard to restore our country.
    The Bush Admin. has ruined the United States, and I can't wait until the door hit him in the arse. He needs to go back to Texas with the rest of the joe six packs and car-hart wearing republicans.
    No more rednecks in the White House!

    November 25, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  18. Kenny

    All this pessimistic attitude towards Obama doesn't help. America's future is at stake so why not cheer for him to succeed. No one likes all the money the govt is spending but this is the only way. There isn't private capital out there so the govt has to do what it has to do. At least the money will be spent on new infrastructure which will create jobs. its gonna take a long time for this to happen but we Americans screwed up and we have to suffer in the mean time. Deal with it.

    November 25, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  19. Christopher

    OMG, who is the HOMER that said sit back and let BUSH fix the economy...GEESH...any HOMER would know that BUSH is what screwed the economy...just like any ohter job he has had in life

    November 25, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  20. johnny d

    Good luck Obama, 1/2 trillion more in debt in the first 100 days. I voted for Obama, however, I believe that you people are going to make him fail. God is jealous God and no man will take his glory. Most democrats worship him. He is not to be worshipped. There is only one God.

    November 25, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  21. Sue

    Wow – holy sh–. Obama has already upped our national debt by BILLIONS!!!! This is helping the people???? Well, maybe his elite political buddies who want zillions of dollars for their grandiose lifestyles. Already this man is a scam artist – promising reforms while adding to the billionaires pockets.

    November 25, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  22. Greg, MI

    Good move–sounds good.

    I'm so glad we selected Obama.

    November 25, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  23. Loletha

    Everytime President Elect Obama name a new cabinet member the stock market goes up. All i can say is GO GO GO OBAMA for the people by the people

    November 25, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  24. I'm just saying

    bsmith171... November 25th, 2008 1:20 pm ET

    the rookie does not have line item veto.

    bobby rubin, tell him know!

    The idea of a line item veto applies to legislation... Obama is discussing the Federal Budget. Two different things... Not to mention, that either way, he can still go through line by line and make recommendations, influence decisions, etc.

    But not that I suppose correcting the facts will stop the attacks. It never does, and clearly you and many others are just desperate to see our new President fail rather than admit success for our country. Sad, lame, and not very patriotic.

    November 25, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  25. PJP

    I see CNN is still going for the popular vote only since I wrote something not so good about Obama earlier and wrote something good about Bush. That's okay American people, we will pay one day for Obama being in office and the pay won't be so good!

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