Obama names fifth player to lead 'imperative' budget reform

Wednesday, 26 November 2008, 03:02 Hrs
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Washington: Describing the budget reform as an imperative and not an option, US president-elect Barack Obama Tuesday nominated Congressional Budget Office chief Peter Orszag to be the director of the White House budget office.

"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," Obama said introducing the fifth major player of his economic team to deal with America's worst economic crisis in decades.

"We cannot sustain a system that bleeds billions of taxpayer dollars on programmes that have outlived their usefulness, or exist solely because of the power of a politician, lobbyist, or interest group," he said at a news conference in Chicago.

Obama said he would ask his economic team to "think anew and act anew" to meet new challenges.

"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," Obama said

As head the White House's Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Orszag, 40, would prepare the president's federal budget proposals for Congress and analyse the effectiveness of government programmes and policies, as well as have a big role in determining federal funding priorities.

Obama, who will take office Jan 20, also named Rob Nabors as the deputy director of the OMB to assist Orszag.

Orszag currently heads the Congressional Budget Office, which calculates the cost of legislative proposals for the House and Senate to consider in their deliberations. Orszag has expertise in retirement security, health care and climate change issues.

Among his previous positions, Orszag was the deputy director of economic studies at the Brookings Institution and served in the Clinton administration as a special assistant to the president for economic policy and senior economic adviser to the National Economic Council.

Obama Monday nominated New York Federal Reserve President Timothy Geithner to be treasury secretary and former Harvard president Lawrence Summers as the director of the National Economic Council to spearhead his administration's efforts to tackle the economic downturn.

Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve and Treasury Department Tuesday unveiled hundreds of billions more in money they are pumping into the struggling US economy, trying to jumpstart lending by the nation's banks for mortgages and consumer debt.

Together, the programmes from the Federal Reserve and the New York Fed aim to dump $800 billion in additional funds into the struggling US economy, more than what Congress approved in October for a bailout of the nation's banks and Wall Street firms.
Source: IANS
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