Obama Announces OMB Picks, Talks Budget Reform


Well, that wasn’t much: mainly an announcement of CBO’s Peter Orszag as Obama’s nominee to head the Office of Management and Budget, and Rob Nabors of the House Appropriations Committee as his deputy, with some budget talk thrown in.

In a less-than-20-minute appearance President-Elect stressed budget reform, referring to a report that “millionaire farmers” got $49 million in subsidies over three years as a “prime example” of the waste he intends to cut. “It’s not about big government or small government,” he said, “it’s about smarter government.”

Obama said he seeks both short-term and long-term economic fixes, looking for what he portrayed as “twofers”: for example, as part of his health-care plan, he wants to institute electronic medical billing and record-keeping, with spending on the implementation giving an “immediate boost” to the economy, and savings coming down the road.

Asked if his frequent appearances and announcements were at all in conflict with the “one President at a time” idea of succession, Obama said that given the “extraordinary circumstances” of the financial crisis, he wants people to know he’s got a “first-class team,” and does not plan to “stumble” into office but to “hit the ground running.” He pledged to work with Republicans, but claimed a “mandate” to “move the country in a new direction” to get America out of the “mess that we’re in.”