November 25th, 2008
02:22 PM ET
9 years ago

Obama says budget reform is not optional

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="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. Ron

    He's going to fall from the pedestal and shatter into a million little particles.

    November 25, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  2. Jen, Cali

    Wow, Obama! What a "novel" idea - like no other president has EVER done that! It's your job, buddy - and there's nothing extraordinary about YOU doing it !!!!!!!!!!!!

    November 25, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  3. Texas Trail Kitty

    I love the way President Obama has taken charge. I look forward to seeing him do some real budget cuts and I pray that he can turn this mess around. We're with you Mr. President.

    November 25, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  4. Ed E

    Go Obama!. Sounds like there's a lot of sore Republican losers posting! Let's hope that bitter republicans don't derail our hopes of changing for the good.

    November 25, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    Wow! you guys still haven't realized what is actually happening in this country? This is bigger than all of us! He is and will be the man, because he was sent by the man . . . And Obama's job will be done when the man says so! It's deeper and bigger than all of us! I thought maybe after beating two political hardballs in the country, people would realize what was happening, but I guess they haven't looked through the proper lens to see the light. But I guess, if one lives in darkness, they can never see the light. Well, whether you all like it or not, the light is shining and you tried to do something about it, by not voting for him, but it was just too bigger than you– Obama is the leader that we need at this time, period! Nothing would have changed that. This was a part of his life journey! He was chosen. Be happy and summon a new spirit of love for yourself and the country. He needs all of us.

    November 25, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  6. JuanM

    More Washington insiders. Some-old-same.

    November 25, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  7. Seth

    From what I have read, the seeds of the economic downfall were planted during the Clinton administration, coming to fruition under G-dub (obviously overlooked by his administration as well), so why is everyone so excited that he picked all of these Clinton people? Also, a Democrat controlled Congress and Presidency certainly will not mean budget cuts, and every one of you Obama supporters know that deep down. I do applaud his transparency and efforts thus far though, it's his ideology and the reality of his party that worry me.

    November 25, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  8. Talia, CA

    Hey folks,

    I suddenly realized that ALL of George W. Bush's pictures will come down in EVERY government building and Barack's pictures will go up. YES, I love it.

    Yes, we could have a barn fire with the pictures they could burn of GW.

    November 25, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  9. There's Always Tomorrow

    Hold on people, we'll get over Bush's recession soon.

    November 25, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  10. Evelyn, NY

    Egads, we've been in the sandbox for eight long years. Thank God we're changing hands. Tick...tock...

    November 25, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  11. MikeH

    I think Obama should go through the ranks of Civil Servants and reduce the head count, by firing all the Bush appointees that have been 'Burrowed". That should save some money.

    These Bush hacks are sleeper right wing extremist moles that are there to poison progress, get them out.

    November 25, 2008 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  12. Independent voter

    President elect Obama is the bomb!!!

    November 25, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  13. MikeH


    This forum is too deep for you and you write silly things.

    You need to go find your rabbit, Roger, and do some patty-cake.

    That's not too intellectually challenging, and you're probably good at it.

    November 25, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  14. Walt, Belton,TX

    The change is going to be in your pockets, folks, not in Washington, DC. Obama's geius financial team is the same bunch that helped get us into this predicament in the first place. The sh _ t is going to hit the fan and I'll bet Obama's got all his savings off shore!

    November 25, 2008 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  15. KLEE

    Go – Obama – Go!! I knew you were not the run of the mill "Politico" – so very glad that I voted for you...... as for the "nay sayers" sorry you can't come up with anything better than the same old "blah blah blah" – I haven't been so intrigued by a polititian in like "forever" I hope and pray that his every step in the quagmire he is wading into is blessed by the "spirit" of hope and renewal that we all need. The people who back him are there – knowing – what he must be going through and cheering him on!

    November 25, 2008 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  16. KLEE

    Oh, and I don't vote for a party, I vote for an idea, a vision!! I don't vote for "looks" I vote for competence & abilities. This left/right nonsense is just that - nonsense!! people get off your blind horse and walk on the dusty road and get a feel for what is really going on in the world!

    November 25, 2008 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  17. Change - Yeah Left!

    He's going to cut every program which the LIBERAL LEFT doesn't consider important. It doesn't matter what's best for the country – Osama Obama is going to cherry pick what he wants and let his Dems put all the pork in that they want!

    November 25, 2008 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
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