Cabinet Challenged To Cut Budget By $100 Million
RENEE MONTAGNE, host:
President Obama is searching for some budget savings - $100 million to be exact. Yesterday, he asked his cabinet to spend the next three months finding ways to cut government spending. NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson has more.
MARA LIASSON: It sounds like small potatoes compared to the president's projected $9.3 trillion deficit over 10 years. And some of the savings are easy to make fun of. The Department of Homeland Security plans to save money by buying office supplies in bulk, the Department of Veterans Affairs by videoconferencing. The president agreed $100 million was just a drop in the bucket. But, he said, even though by themselves these savings could not solve the country's long term fiscal problems, they do add up.
President BARACK OBAMA: Cumulatively they make an extraordinary difference, because they start setting a tone. And so, what we're going to do is, line by line, page by page, $100 million there, $100 million here, pretty soon - even in Washington - it adds up to real money.
LIASSON: The president wants to send a message designed to address that simmering current of populist anger at bailouts, bonuses, deficits and spending.
President OBAMA: We also have a deficit, a confidence gap, when it comes to the American people. And we've got to earn their trust. They've got to feel confident that their dollars are being spent wisely.
LIASSON: And if they do, the president may have added, the American people just might be more favorably disposed to his own plans to spend a whole lot more on healthcare, energy and education.
Mara Liasson, NPR News, the White House.
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