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. Guy

    Ron, is Michelle Obama's makeover the most important thing on your little mind... that's sad.

    November 25, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  2. Beth from Virginia

    Joining the gang of responders to Office of the President-Elect: So what should he do? Hang out on the beach and play with the kids until January 20th and then step into the White House with absolutely NO preparations?? There's no insult here. Pay attention. It's what ALL president-elects do between the election and the inauguration.

    Next time, be sure your brain is engaged before putting your fingers on the keyboard.

    November 25, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  3. Unshrub


    When all else fails it's time to use insults. How low can you go? What else can a little mind as yours come up with? Here is an insult you might understand. You are acting like a pig.

    November 25, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  4. CanadianObserver

    It is becoming clearer and clearer that Pres. Elect Obama is determined to go into office with a full deck and a well-thought-out plan. He has done what few politicians have ever done–gained trememdous respect from yours truly.

    I can't wait to observe his inauguration ceremony. That's gonna be HUGE, but moreso, I can't wait to see how he does afterward. Go America! 😀

    November 25, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  5. Craeg fr Canada

    I am happy for you all that the stimulation of the economy will include infrastructure renewal. I could never understand why such was neglected for so long. Surely infrastructure is one of the foundations of a modern economy.
    It looks like a great team your pres-elect if building. I hope all Americans recognize and do their part. We in Canada benefit from your wellness.

    November 25, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  6. Mike, Syracuse NY

    Can someone please tell Obama that the President doesn't have line item veto power because Congress (both parties) are too protective of their pork. So even if he finds thousands of useless line items (and he will) there's no way to remove them unless Congress ( who voted for them in the first place) agrees.

    November 25, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  7. JK Ashburn, VA

    Line by line through the federal budget and get rid of unnecessary spending? With a Democratic Congress? Hah! Good luck with that.

    November 25, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  8. DJ

    I'm sure "Office of the Official Presidential Transition Team" was a bit too long-winded to fit on the podium. In the grand scheme, who really gives a rat's patute what he calls it? The man is getting things done, and fast, which is a whole lot more than you can say for the current cast of characters in charge. And could someone please explain to me what the hell the name of Obama's office has to do with that neo-con whackjob's family values?? Get a life, fella...yikes. Last I checked, Barack was the President-Elect, worked in an office, and had a full staff working with and for him on the transition of power...Sure sounds like the Office of the President-Elect to me, whether the title existed previously or not. He can call it the "Office of the Soon To Be Big Shot in the White House" for all I care, long as he keeps the ball rolling.

    November 25, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  9. james

    At least Obama has a plan other than "trickle down". Even his Dad called Reagan economics "Voodoo economics".---- Sooner or later when things get tight or scarry for the FEW who have all the money, the flow downward stops and the less fortunate are cut off.----- As you can see now !!! Wall street banks got their money first.

    November 25, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  10. Shari, NY

    Dear Ron: Beauty is only skin deep and, by the way, the word is "eyesore" not "eyes sore". The bastardization English on this board is the real eyesore.

    November 25, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  11. Puzzled

    God Speed Mr. Obama. We wish you much success, you've already done more than is called for as President Elect. I was hoping you could get some rest between now and 1/20 but I guess not. A lot of us are praying for you daily.

    November 25, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  12. TC in Ohio

    Ron don't you dare hate on Michelle Obama ! She is a beautiful black woman and will make a great first lady. Much better than Cindy McCain any day. She has grace style and elegance.

    November 25, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  13. Turning the page

    Mr President, please start with the defense budget. We spend on defense as much as the rest of the world combined, including Russia and China – that is just plain ridiculous. We don't need to spend that much to protect ourselves from terrorists. Who are we scared of attacking us? Iran? Russia? China? It doesn't make sense. All this adds up to is welfare for the military industry and it's lobbyists.

    The Republicans say they're against protectionism. They should stop advocating for all this paranoid "protectionism" then!

    Mr President, you have a mandate. Please stand up to these money grabbing fear mongers!

    November 25, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  14. Randy

    Well a good place to start is not to have 1 trillion dollars already spent before you take office.

    Stimulus package the first day....what are we all supposed to end up working for "the one"

    November 25, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  15. Lizz

    Millions of jobs are losing.
    Is 2.5 million jobs created under the plan sufficient to counter the reccession? This number is too small as compared to jobs lost.

    Better plans needed please....

    November 25, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  16. Virginia

    Budget reform is not optional, but right he is! But, someone has to STOP bleeding us regular people dry by doing all this bailing out. People are losing their jobs and struggling regardless of these bailouts. STOP and start the US actually being on a budget. Isn't that what a budget officer is for?????

    November 25, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  17. Spirit of America

    Start with the grossly bloated Pentagon budget

    November 25, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  18. david

    hope obama has the spine to make the tough decisions and cut, cut, cut then cut some more. states, counties, cities need to do the same and now. obama needs to move faster, announce plans faster, announce appointments or potential appointments faster. if i was his drill instructor, i would be hollering in his ears "move, move, move!"

    November 25, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  19. Wait...What?

    We are all witnessing Obama put the Republican party on it's death bed. It's only a matter of time before America pulls the plug.

    November 25, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  20. wwf

    No comment from the Office of the President-Elect! Interesting

    November 25, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  21. Mikey

    Earth to Dave: Republican Administrations have incurred over 80 percent of our entire national debt – most of that with GOP controlled congresses.

    Obama's actions are not what you expected because you believe all the BS about him being the most liberal being in the history of the universe. I expect that he will continue to confuse right wing nut jobs like you while disappointing some ultra liberals.

    Obama is a liberal leaning pragmatic moderate. Liberal ideals, but practical solutions. Anyone who read his books and policy statements and listened to what he actually said understands that. Idiots who get their information from Limbaugh and Fox news will never get it because they are selectively avoiding balanced information.

    November 25, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  22. Mike, Syracuse NY

    DJ, just what is the man getting done? He's named some of his cabinet nominees just like every President before him has done. That's Being President 101. He appears to have picked qualified people so far (HRC excepted), but it remains to be seen if they can be team players or all act like a bunch of prima donnas. It's way too early to say he's great or he's bad. It's like an NFL coach preseason. He's done a good job at the draft, but the team hasn't even suited up for the first game yet. You're predicting he'll win the Superbowl. It's a long season.

    November 25, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  23. John Q. Cynic

    Obama is moving ahead responsibly with the professional management of his transition team, and this gives the majority of Americans, a picture of his skill as our leader. It's one reason why I voted for Obama. The president must read voraciously if he wants to understand the details, and Bush has openly stated that he doesn't read the majority of documents he signs, or dismisses, depending on his adviser's accounts to the contents. That's not good leadership. I'm glad Obama is our incoming president, he's the right man, at the right time.

    November 25, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  24. peter pan

    Hey idiot democrats, what are you going to be saying in one year about the economy and barack obama? i'm sure you will blame the republicans, even though you will have been in-charge for three years.
    post it, you guys will never post anything when it is negative about the dems

    November 25, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  25. Independent

    Obama will go through the budget page by page, line by line?

    Well, duh. It's his job as President! The question is whether he can submit a balanced budget... And just by looking at his position on the bailout, I'm incredulous that he can do so...

    November 25, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
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