February 28th, 2009
10:19 AM ET
6 years ago

Obama: My budget represents change

Barack Obama presented his budget summary on Thursday.
Barack Obama presented his budget summary on Thursday.

(CNN) – President Obama said the budget he presented to Congress this week represents “the change the American people voted for in November.”

In his weekly address on Saturday, Obama described promises he made during the campaign – such as bringing down the cost of health care – and sought to explain how his budget would make those promises reality.

The president said his budget will cut taxes for most Americans, invest in clean energy and education, and halve the deficit by the end of his first term.

“I realize that passing this budget won’t be easy. Because it represents real and dramatic change, it also represents a threat to the status quo in Washington,” the president said.

Full text of the address after the jump

Remarks of Senator Barack Obama

Weekly Address

Saturday, February 28th, 2009

Washington, DC

Two years ago, we set out on a journey to change the way that Washington works.

We sought a government that served not the interests of powerful lobbyists or the wealthiest few, but the middle-class Americans I met every day in every community along the campaign trail – responsible men and women who are working harder than ever, worrying about their jobs, and struggling to raise their families. In so many town halls and backyards, they spoke of their hopes for a government that finally confronts the challenges that their families face every day; a government that treats their tax dollars as responsibly as they treat their own hard-earned paychecks.

That is the change I promised as a candidate for president. It is the change the American people voted for in November. And it is the change represented by the budget I sent to Congress this week.

During the campaign, I promised a fair and balanced tax code that would cut taxes for 95% of working Americans, roll back the tax breaks for those making over $250,000 a year, and end the tax breaks for corporations that ship our jobs overseas. This budget does that.

I promised an economy run on clean, renewable energy that will create new American jobs, new American industries, and free us from the dangerous grip of foreign oil. This budget puts us on that path, through a market-based cap on carbon pollution that will make renewable energy the profitable kind of energy; through investments in wind power and solar power; advanced biofuels, clean coal, and more fuel-efficient American cars and American trucks.

I promised to bring down the crushing cost of health care – a cost that bankrupts one American every thirty seconds, forces small businesses to close their doors, and saddles our government with more debt. This budget keeps that promise, with a historic commitment to reform that will lead to lower costs and quality, affordable health care for every American.

I promised an education system that will prepare every American to compete, so Americans can win in a global economy. This budget will help us meet that goal, with new incentives for teacher performance and pathways for advancement; new tax credits that will make college more affordable for all who want to go; and new support to ensure that those who do go finish their degree.

This budget also reflects the stark reality of what we’ve inherited – a trillion dollar deficit, a financial crisis, and a costly recession. Given this reality, we’ll have to be more vigilant than ever in eliminating the programs we don’t need in order to make room for the investments we do need. I promised to do this by going through the federal budget page by page, and line by line. That is a process we have already begun, and I am pleased to say that we’ve already identified two trillion dollars worth of deficit-reductions over the next decade. We’ve also restored a sense of honesty and transparency to our budget, which is why this one accounts for spending that was hidden or left out under the old rules.

I realize that passing this budget won’t be easy. Because it represents real and dramatic change, it also represents a threat to the status quo in Washington. I know that the insurance industry won’t like the idea that they’ll have to bid competitively to continue offering Medicare coverage, but that’s how we’ll help preserve and protect Medicare and lower health care costs for American families. I know that banks and big student lenders won’t like the idea that we’re ending their huge taxpayer subsidies, but that’s how we’ll save taxpayers nearly $50 billion and make college more affordable. I know that oil and gas companies won’t like us ending nearly $30 billion in tax breaks, but that’s how we’ll help fund a renewable energy economy that will create new jobs and new industries. In other words, I know these steps won’t sit well with the special interests and lobbyists who are invested in the old way of doing business, and I know they’re gearing up for a fight as we speak. My message to them is this:

So am I.

The system we have now might work for the powerful and well-connected interests that have run Washington for far too long, but I don’t. I work for the American people. I didn’t come here to do the same thing we’ve been doing or to take small steps forward, I came to provide the sweeping change that this country demanded when it went to the polls in November. That is the change this budget starts to make, and that is the change I’ll be fighting for in the weeks ahead – change that will grow our economy, expand our middle-class, and keep the American Dream alive for all those men and women who have believed in this journey from the day it began.

Thanks for listening.


Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (114 Responses)
  1. Todd

    yeah, I agree it shows change – as in, all I have left in my pocket is change!!! thanks oh great messiah!

    February 28, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  2. Obama - NOPE

    Chump Change.

    February 28, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  3. stillsupportspresident

    Obama is doing EXACTLY what he said he would do. If you voted for him because he is tall, attractive and has a nice smile then that is YOUR BAD. He is proceeding the way that he stated he would. Also, certain plans will have to be modified as life changes daily. If you want a promise made in Feb 08 for example, right now, and life and the economy has changed since then, how can you expect him to proceed with the same plan? Grow up people. Your problem is not his spending, your problem is whatever Limbaugh tells you it is. First it was his race, then birth certificate, then supposed terrorism, then his aunt, then his wife, and now whatever legislation he has in mind. Get over this radio dope addict hate monger's words and listen to an intellectual for once. The majority of American people, which includes Whites, supports the President and want better for this country. Limbaugh is a typical racist because not once did he root for Clinton to FAIL or any other white Democrat. You all hate the President and yet your party leaders have no legitimate plans to make the country better other than their usual tax credit for the rich. Knowing those idiots, they probably think that tax credits can cure disease and pick the magic lottery numbers.

    February 28, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  4. If you don't like it go back to Europe!

    Obama won the election. America voted for his budget.

    February 28, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  5. Eric

    I'm happy I voted for him!

    February 28, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  6. concern

    You guys our so funny!!! We knew that as so as BO got into office this was going to happen. He knew too!! So let me just say this! He should not defen hiself to the very people that did'nt vote for him anyway. They will always find a reson to put down his every move. This is what they do!! Half of them "have no ideal what there talking about and the others
    just want to see the USA stay the same forever!! The Rich get Richer and the Poor get out of the way!!

    Shame on you!! neo"s

    February 28, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  7. concern

    You guys our so funny!!! We knew that as soon as BO got into office this was going to happen. He knew too!! So let me just say this! He should not defen hiself to the very people that did'nt vote for him anyway. They will always find a reson to put down his every move. This is what they do!! Half of them "have no ideal what there talking about and the others
    just want to see the USA stay the same forever!! The Rich get Richer and the Poor get out of the way!!

    Shame on you!! neo"s

    February 28, 2009 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  8. Paula

    Finally, honesty in DC. Obama will be seen in a better light by this year's end! I have listened to Economics professors and get what he is doing-in the long run, our country will be saved from the Bush years of ravage.

    February 28, 2009 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  9. darko

    Your budget is a freaking joke.

    Can't say we didn't tell you he would take us down this path.

    'Can't let a crisis like this go to waste' – rahm has the quote of the year!

    February 28, 2009 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  10. KW, Vail AZ

    Joe February 28th, 2009 12:08 pm ET

    "How does spending all our money differ from the Bush administration?"

    Joe, the answer is positive results.

    February 28, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  11. MSNBC News

    Ridiculous, Scott, Tucson, Jimmy, ja3p0, and all the rest of you nay- sayers should be begging to eat the corn kernals out of your new POTUS's logs instead of insulting him.

    February 28, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  12. texas teacher

    Talk about Pork.... seriously... I mean really?

    Fan of Common Sense: "PORK?"
    FofCS: Well, Porky, you and the rest of you Republicans have been Pork for the last 8 years!

    February 28, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  13. Hammer

    Change is right. Big government will take all the money from the wage earners and give it to the lazy and the deadbeats. Everyone can quit work and let the wealthy support us, just like in Obama's homeland of Kenya.

    February 28, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  14. irma

    I am a forever Hillary Clinton supporter who is now IN THE TANK for Obama and his whole administration! Hooray for finally saying and doing what should have happened long ago. I was in shock for 8 years as the greed became completely out of control. We the people have to stand firm behind President Obama no matter what comes our way via the media and far right/left wing attacks. We the people cannot waiver in our support. Stay focused people. Because it's not Pres. Obama ready for the fight alone, WE ARE READY. WE CAN AND WE WILL!

    February 28, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  15. Tax cuts cure cancer

    Republican vocabulary: Pork, tax cuts, socialism, kool aid.

    Thats it.....

    February 28, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  16. No Hillary = No Obama

    His budget is outlandish and represents his need to be bigger, better and leave a hugh financial carbon imprint for generations to come. Congress better reign-in this guy's ego and the sooner the better.

    February 28, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  17. Tax cuts healed my broken arm

    See what happens when you put someone in office who favors intelligence over ideology.

    Also, its a bonus when I get to come on here and read desperate posts from people who are afraid of Obama.

    Cowards!

    February 28, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  18. daleesp

    Thank goodness for Obama. Them criminal Republicans have brought my 401K down 50%+ and it is time for CHANGE!!!

    February 28, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  19. daleesp

    Rush Limbaugh is nothing but pork

    February 28, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  20. Not Buying It

    The only change I'm seeing is a hurry up into Socialism

    February 28, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  21. irenapopilevsky

    This is, I hope the beginnng of a new start of us.

    February 28, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  22. someone

    I hope the American people realize that this package will eventully do the country a lot of good.

    February 28, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  23. Mike H.

    It's change all right but change we can't afford. Obama is going to drive this country into the ground.

    February 28, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  24. Cincy Voter

    It's fun to see republicans squirm...

    February 28, 2009 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  25. Linda in MS

    Right on, Mr. Obama. Don't let the naysayers get you down.

    February 28, 2009 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
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