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. 30-m-PA-Democrat-voted McCain

    No kidding. This guy reminds me of Bush more and more each day. People continue to elect people who are clearly not qualifed to be president.

    November 25, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  2. sensible Cape Coral Fl

    Is "The Office of the President-elect" simply the name given to the place where he sits to do his work? It is obviously temporary.

    God, where did all these stupid people come from. We can't blame this on the immigrants.

    November 25, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  3. Judy Miami Fl

    Office of the President Elect – ya baby that's EXACTLY who you are! to you Office: should know that child-play isn't hyphenated. Once you get the grammar down you can start on the politics.
    Go obama – great job.
    screw the republicans/evangelico "christians" they have perpertrated the biggest heist in the history o f the world.
    Let's all go to Georgia and boo ailin Palin ....wink, wink!!!!

    November 25, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  4. PR


    Sounds to me like your financial issues are due to your own mistakes. My mortgage is not late and I didn't take a home equity line of credit. I live in my means and save a large portion of my income. The government shouldn't have sent those stimulus checks or bailed anyone out. No one deserved the stimulus money to begin with so why are you angry. It only contributes to the future hyper-inflation that will set in.

    November 25, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  5. Armando

    He isn't going to change anything. The only way he can get the economy back on track is to bring the troops home from all around the world, not just Iraq and Afghanistan. Taxes need to be cut big time. Bailouts and inflation need to stop. But it looks like he's just more of the same. Lets just start calling him President Bailout.

    November 25, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  6. ANGIE

    He should start by stopping the 10 billon dollars a month in Iraq!

    November 25, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  7. Bruce

    It is an insult to the constitution and the history of our founding-fathers, the tradition of the American people, our moral family values.
    and bush and cheney did not insult and tear up the constitution, and destroy family values? Come on.
    Wake up.
    The past 8 years have proven to be the undoing of this country..and to be honest I am not sure that anyone can fix the problems that this administration has caused. Especailly in the last year when they ahve done nothing and continue to do so.
    many years ago I taught that when leaving a job you leave by making sure that you ahve done everything that has been asked of you, and that you do not run out the string. that how you leave a job is shows more about your charactor than anything. Well guess we are truly getting a view of this adminsitrations character.

    November 25, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  8. NY Republican

    BRAVO Mr. President-Elect!!!! Conservative Republicans have been trying to get to a balanced budget for a long, long time. I wish you best of luck in your quest, you're going to need it! Your party members could learn a lot from this. Especially in New York, where they can't even get one in on time much less balanced. BRAVO, BRAVO, BRAVO

    November 25, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  9. Jessica

    This is all Harvard empty suit demagoguery. There is one thing Obama excells at: Kool Aid recipe for zombie followers.

    November 25, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  10. Ron

    I'd be happy if only Michelle Obama would get a make over. I'm not sure I can stand four years of an eyes sore.

    November 25, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  11. Spider

    I think it's time to officially rename the Obama Adminstration:

    The Clinton Lite Administration.

    Looks like the first African American President is still a Clinton.

    Sometimes I crack myself up!!!!!!

    November 25, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  12. sandee in Portland

    I, for one, am very impressed by PE Obama and the way he has hit the ground running since November 4. For those who don't remember, President Bush and even President Clinton didn't take the time or energy to pick their cabinet members before the inauguration day. They both waited until well after they were sworn in as presidents. PE Obama is a "game on" type of person. Such a refreshing change for a politician.

    November 25, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  13. Kpawlak

    Your all a bunch of Obama zombies.

    November 25, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  14. Cliff

    Re: Office of the President Elect. I find it truly amazing that anyone has the nerve to criticize the transition team for using this title even though it is not recognized under the Constitution. Who cares?? Obama is the only leader the Country has right now and the entire world is looking to him for direction. Please do the right thing and get behind this amazing new team of people and put your knowledge of the constitution and your egos aside for another day.

    November 25, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  15. charles

    "civilized world" you excluded becoz you are not civilized enough by your comments. go back to your cave.

    November 25, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  16. Armando

    Also I suggest everyone youtube "Peter Schiff was right" The truth will set you free !

    November 25, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  17. Thomas

    As for the "office of the President-elect"?

    Under The Presidential Transition Act of 1963 (Public Law 88-277) amended in 2000, the General Services Administration funds an office for the President-elect after the general elections.

    While few recent President-elects had a sign, all of them had an office to run their Transition activities out of.

    So, yes, there is an office of the President-elect. It is official and paid for by the taxpayers.

    November 25, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  18. Whiners

    The President-elect is doing more in a month than some people have done in a lifetime. Those who chose to verbally attack are but dust in the wind.

    November 25, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  19. Brian G, Sugar Land, TX

    Barack should ties his Cabinet Members' salaries to their performance. No workee, no money

    November 25, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  20. Jim Kulp

    Mr. Obama can do little about the primary cause of this economic dilemma, which is zero population growth? I believe the reason for decades of prosperity was the baby boom. To sell a home or car, one needs a buyer. Instead, the boomers are retiring, withdrawing money from the markets. Cars and homes are built better and last longer, creating a paradox of sorts. And, no, I'm not suggesting the obvious solution to this.

    November 25, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  21. Dennis Garcia

    How about some of the bailout money benefiting those of us who have SACRIFICED and were still RESPONSIBLE. We paid our mortgage and credit card debt on time. We used good judgement and lived within our means and didn't get into debt we could not afford. We did this even though we lost dearly in our 401K's. We were told by our leaders until recently that the economy was sound. How about lower mortgage interest rates for all of us, even though we are not behind on our house payments.. How about a tax credit for a portion of our 401K losses. I feel sorry for those who have not paid their bills on time but those of us who have need a break also.

    November 25, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  22. Guy

    Why isn't he president already? Where is that idiot Bush these days?

    November 25, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  23. Unshrub

    I know it is difficult for some of you republicans, but what Obama and team are doing is called a "Plan." This is something Bush and republicans have failed to do in eight years.

    November 25, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  24. Peter (CA)

    Wow the right wingers are in full force, aren't they?

    Sorry Jessica but Obama is doing the job already, before he is even sworn in. Imagine that, a President who cares about doing what is right for the American people and not just what makes his friends richer.

    Ron-yeah, you just need to crawl back under the rock you came out of .

    November 25, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  25. Simmy

    I like that you, my New President, have hit the ground running, and beginning to do what you promised during your campaign!

    Keep up the super work! You're the Mr. Man!!

    November 25, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
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