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. Joe

    How does spending all our money differ from the Bush administration? I love the 3.5T budgets with only 2.0T coming in – what sense does that make? Oh – we're getting it from the government – that's where the money trees grow and we rake up $100 bills every fall. BS! We are the government you knuckleheads! The last 8 years and the next 8 is going to be like watching a 16 year old go to the mall and max out her credit cards and her punishment is going to be raising her credit limit and interest rate – that'll teach her. The greatest excuse going is – "Bush did it to kill people – so we can do it now for ourselves". The sad thing is that we deserve this – we have no one to blame but ourselves for being an uneducated stupid bunch of idiots voting for these people. Ultimately and sadly, our country is going to have to be brought to it's knees to understand what's important in life and the concept of responsibility...

    February 28, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  2. Ann

    Change of what?

    February 28, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  3. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    And so are millions of voters and unemployed citizens ready to see the real change they vote for to be represented in this budget.

    February 28, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  4. Jamey The Moderate

    Im not sure Obama gets it... big government is one thing but its another to waste resources and not trim the fat from everything....Ive never heard him once give a solid definition of what he believes is the purpose of Government... and without this is hard to see what hes doing, besides making government programs fatter not smarter.

    February 28, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  5. Radha McChristy

    "Remarks of Senator Barack Obama

    Weekly Address

    Saturday, February 28th, 2009"

    Thanks for printing the speech from PRESIDENT Barrack Obama – Wake up CNN Editors!

    February 28, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  6. Eric

    Game on! Amen

    February 28, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  7. Rick

    Obama this isnt McDonalds and the only change we hear is the change rattling in your pockets. Its nothing more than normal Washington bull I hear you preaching. If you want change, I think every mother father and child should learn to fish and make gardens because if you look at the stock markets that are DOWN, that is a good indication where your administartion is taking us....DOWN the toilet to a depression.

    February 28, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  8. Sandra

    Thank you, President Obama. Stay strong and don't let the Republicans get to you. They will fight you for 4 years using every dirty trick in the book. Don't be distracted by them.

    February 28, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  9. linda from south dakota

    its about time someone thinks of the average american,, and helps us out,,, one thing these big comapnies that stand in line to get monies should be banned from haveing ANY parties until the economy is alot better,,, their pay should be froze,, no incentive packages given out,, and no specail privileges gives to ayone in higer standing,, this may make them think on how its lkike for the average american,, umm ya think???

    February 28, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  10. barry

    So obama was front row, court side at a Bulls game last night...those seats aren't free. Good use of bailout money obama. You're just another politician. Pathetic

    February 28, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  11. Little too late????

    Yes, it is CHANGE...BACK to Tax and Spend! This is DemacRAT party is like a kid that has been wearing braces on their teeth for 4 yrs. Hasnt had any candy, pizza or their choice in eating what they want the entire time. NOW they do...and they hit every candy store, buy taffy and gummy bears (even though they could eat something else) and chow down on pizza like it is going out of style!

    A year down the road when they have packed on 50 pounds and are getting teased by others, they look at themselves and say, "HOW did this happen??? WHO could have done this to ME???"

    Dems...look in the mirror. This contry just got the braces off and BO, Nancy and Harry are already hitting the candy store...IN YOUR WALLETS. Better start thinking NOW how we will need to lose that 'weight' of debt around our midsection....!!!

    BO, NANCY and HARRY will be asking, when the recovery isnt as dramatic as they had hoped...WHO DID THIS TO US???

    Self indulgent denial.

    February 28, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  12. roland

    Obama is the man for the job.don't stop until you get the job done Mr President.

    February 28, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  13. George Hillsdorm

    "Change" happens everyday. Our country does not need to be changed into bankruptcy like you have proposed, Obama.

    February 28, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  14. Emily

    Amen, thank you Mr. President

    February 28, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  15. S. Boatman Warrensburg, Mo.

    I hope and pray that the change you bring works for america!

    February 28, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  16. Fan of Common Sense


    Some change. If it wasn't so tragic, it would be funny.

    February 28, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  17. Randall in Torrance, Huge OBAMA Fan!

    Thank you Mr. President for keeping your promise to bring real positive and much needed change to America. Don't let the negative hateful and disagreeable Republicans get you down with their ill temperments and mean scowls on their faces. They just can't stand it that for once they have met their foe and lost. They can't stand the fact that you are actually going to keep your promise to move America out of the pits of Republican depravity and IMPLEMENT HEALTH CARE, EDUCATION, and ENERGY policies that will MOVE AMERICA FORWARD! YAAAAAAAAY! Gog bless you and your family, President Obama.

    February 28, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  18. Ken from missouri

    President Obama we voted you in because you promised change and we deserve that and we knew it would be difficult but our kids and country are worth it so when the republicans oppose it they are showing the same ol ways they have always had so keep up the good work and keep fighting for all of us working people.

    February 28, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  19. Obama 2.0

    President Obama is doing what we put him in there to do and the Left radicals and the right radicals are hating life, that is a ok. You know he is doing a great job if he gets grief from both sides. They have one small problem, well one small problem X 63,000,000,000. People like me that do our homework and watch and know that to date he is on track and we support him. so they can continue the peeing in the wind mode or they can roll up their sleeves and help us help him fix this fine mess the world is in.

    February 28, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  20. manhandler

    What a sick joke this guy is. Amazing how fast his real colors showed themselves. He keeps getting up and calling things exactly the opposite of what they are.
    This joker blatantly stood up and said the Porkulous bill didn't contain one earmark. What????? I guess he was right, it doesn't contain one earmark, it's full of earmarks,
    Now we have him sending a budget to Congress that has 9000 earmarks in it, including one that he apparently asked someone in Congress to insert.
    Then he stood up and said he was withdrawing troops from Iraq??Oh, not for another 19 months and by the way, did i mention that we're leaving 50,00 troops there. This is exactly what Bush was aiming to do. Plus were gonna ramp up the stupid, dumb. war in Afganistan. Where is the logic in that?
    Now he wants us to belives all this has anything to do with change?
    This arrogant jerk is unbelievable. He thinks if he says something, it makes it so.
    Bush was just stupid. This guy is dangerous, because all the Kool Aid drinkers stand there and listen to him with drool running down the sides of their mouth and brainlessly nod "Yeah" Yeah." "He says it, it must be so."

    February 28, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  21. reagan fan forever

    winnie - yeah, and shudder

    February 28, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  22. Helen, NY

    Warren Buffet endorsed Barack Obama and now he should realize that his wealth is now 40-50%. It will go down further. What a change....

    February 28, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  23. kyle

    obama rules

    February 28, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  24. abdul S

    Mr president ,
    You are doing right right thing and moving the country in the right direction. The whole world is watching and waiting for America to lead again and you have provided that leadership. Dramatic change is needed and it is necessary to put America back to work. American people are patient to kick in these sweeping changes, because they went to the polls in November to demand it. Ignore the threat coming from the status quo, because they are becoming a minority and majority of the American have voted for you. this is the change that we can believe in. Keep it up, it is the step in the right direction and God bless you

    February 28, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  25. CSchoot

    I know many of you do not support the president of the United States, but judging by the comments many of us do and we would appreciate it if your would edit this article. It currently names the president as Senator Obama. Please correct it to read appropriately, it seems disrespectful.

    February 28, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
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