Page last updated at 17:49 GMT, Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Obama vows to 'reform' US budget

Barack Obama says he will end wasteful spending

US President-elect Barack Obama has outlined more details of his plans to stimulate the ailing US economy, at the same time as making cuts to the budget.

He said budget reform was "imperative" and that the nation could not "sustain a system that bleeds billions of taxpayer dollars" on unneeded projects.

He announced the appointment of Peter Orszag, now head of the Congressional Budget Office, as his budget director.

Rob Nabors will be deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget.

Mr Obama praised both men as "outstanding public servants" and described Mr Orszag as a man who, because of his current role, "knows where the bodies are buried".

Their appointment came a day after Mr Obama named other key economic advisers, among them New York Federal Reserve President Timothy Geithner as Treasury Secretary.

'Think anew'

Speaking in Chicago on Tuesday, Mr Obama said: "In these challenging times, when we are facing both rising deficits and a sinking economy, budget reform is not an option. It is an imperative."

US Treasury Secretary:
Timothy Geithner, president, New York Federal Reserve
Director, White House National Economic Council:
Lawrence Summers, former Treasury secretary
Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers:
Christina Romer, co-director, National Bureau of Economic Research
Director, White House Office of Management and Budget:
Peter Orszag, director of the Congressional Budget Office

He said he would ask his economic team to "think anew and act anew" to meet new challenges and ensure it was not politics as usual when it came to spending in Washington.

"We will go through our federal budget - page by page, line by line - eliminating those programmes we don't need, and insisting that those we do operate in a sensible cost-effective way," he said.

Mr Obama said many Americans had a "legitimate anxiety" about the economy and that it was "important they know their president has a plan and will act swiftly and boldly".

He said making smart decisions would be at the core of his stimulus package plans.

"We are going to have to jump-start the economy... but we have to make sure that those investments are wise. We have to make sure we are not wasting money in every area."

He added that in order to meet challenges of this scale, Republicans and Democrats would have to work together to come up with the "common-sense government" the American people wanted.

On Monday, the president-elect said he intended to create and save 2.5 million US jobs by investing in the national infrastructure.

Correspondents say there has been much speculation about the price tag for his stimulus package, with some US politicians saying it could be as much as $700bn (463bn).

Mr Obama also said he would honour the public commitments made by President George W Bush - who leaves office on 20 January - to support the US economy.

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