February 28th, 2009
10:19 AM ET
11 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. George the Democrat Obama fanatic.

    And people are acting all shocked. Obama is doing exactly what he said he would do. Exactly what people voted him into office to do.

    February 28, 2009 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  2. chris

    Yea it is MEGA change.. We go from BUSH spending a ton of money to OBAMA spending a TON more.....

    February 28, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  3. Oldlady

    President Obama keep at it! Main Street American are on your side.

    February 28, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  4. fearful for my country

    The only "change" it represents is the change you'll be scraping up to buy your next bite of food.

    February 28, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  5. winnie

    Do you realise he is the president of the united states?

    February 28, 2009 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  6. Ridiculous

    Change? That's all we'll have left when you're through. Get this bozo out of office.

    February 28, 2009 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  7. DNC

    CHANGE to the outright establishment of the POLITBUREAU as they PROPAGANDIZE to their PROLETARIAT

    All we need now is the SECRET POLICE

    February 28, 2009 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  8. Ridiculous

    Drive the doctors from the country. You fool!

    February 28, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  9. Independent to the Max

    Here he goes again, the affirmative action president lecturing us with his high minded condescension. I love how he has to try and trick you with "we inherited this"...Yes, but we inherited it from both parties. Stop blaming bush to hedge for your gross lack of judgement. I don't want nationalized healthcare. I don't know what jobs all the new graduates will get when you have taxed the people who actually produce jobs to death. Just keep "acting presidential" and printing your barry bucks to fund your utopian fantasy world. What a joke. Bush wasn't any better, but this guy is a fraud.

    February 28, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  10. HelloooOOOOO

    If your trying to sell a house ( or car) you always up the price, because its much easier to "go down in your price, than raise it , which is same way I view this..set the budget price high, it may NOT even take that much to straighten it out, but, if it does, you had the price right to begin with..and wont have to attempt to raise the price if you had set it too low...which we all know cant be done...makes sense to me..I dont like it either, but, I AM willing to wait ans see, because

    February 28, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  11. linda

    Yes, his budget represents change.....a change in my bank account and a change in my retirement date! Thank you Mr Obama. I loved working hard for this outcome the past 40 years.

    February 28, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  12. Scott, Tucson

    How about getting rid of the PORK in this bill Obama!

    You can start by setting the example by tossing out your very own special ear-marks for Chicago, instead of keeping them in this pork bill and simply removing your name as the author. Than you can remove all the pork spending that your VP 'Joe' have inserted into the bill too.

    True times are tough for America, it ought to be tough for you and the others who sit on the Hill to, and whom are suppose to represent us but have been doing a very dismal job .

    February 28, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  13. Ray Fisher

    The President is on the proper course to implement real change and improve our nation. We must simply have patience till everything is in place, the stimulus is huge and the budget even larger thus the impacts will be widespread and take time reach all Americans. My prime concern at present is the lack of illegal immigration enforcement!!!

    February 28, 2009 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  14. Mike, St. Louis

    Yes you are right Mr. Obama, your budget does represent change. What was once irresponsible budgets under Clinton and Bush has now changed into a laughably irresponsible budget. Thanks for the change, Mr. Obama.

    February 28, 2009 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  15. blue

    Yes, and now you go on to propose the most incredibly expensive budget on top of the huge bailouts and porkumulas spending bills, 4 times the amount of last year when we are in a shambles for the reckless governing and spending that you have exceeded in wildest dreams.

    I guess you are looking to destroy the American dream that your Socialist friends proposed all these years.

    And I hope all are happy with all your record flip flops on campaign promises;. Too change we've n e v e r seen at such amounts. And only withdrawing 2/3 of the trooops and those 4 months later, leaving 50,000 troops in Iraq. Amazing "c h a n g e ". So nice to see you "changed" to Bush's Iraq policy.

    February 28, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  16. markens

    it is the first time in America that we have a president who keeps his promises.

    February 28, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  17. Jimmy

    I can't believe that people still think he is telling the truth.

    February 28, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  18. Carl

    Fun fact:

    If you tax 100% of all income over $75,000 for all Americans, you still wouldn't have enough to pay for this year's budget.

    Thanks for nothing Washington.... past and present and future.

    February 28, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  19. Preserve America

    46 million Americans did not vote for Obama's change and when your voters figure out how radical he is, he may have a few less next time around!!!!!!!

    February 28, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  20. Les

    Yes ObmaCHIMP, your budget indeed represents CHANGE, we'll be left with PENNIES in our pockets!

    February 28, 2009 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  21. big papa

    Thank you Mr. President...

    ...for bringing intelligence, integrity, and honesty...

    ...back to the office...

    February 28, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  22. rea


    February 28, 2009 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  23. katiec

    And, change is what we voted for.
    The American will not accept or support a continuation of politics
    as usual! We have to move our country forward and on new paths.
    The old ideas, policies and tactics simply will not work.

    February 28, 2009 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  24. Lovethechange

    Thank you President Obama.. we welcome the change

    Thank you for being honest..
    Thank you for fighting for us the American people

    February 28, 2009 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  25. Mel of Alexandria, Virginia

    We voted for change. We do want bipartisan approach to getting things done, but not to the extent that we should allow the Republicans to hijack change and hold us hostage for the price of their same old, failed policies.

    February 28, 2009 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
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