Obama Vows No Earmarks In Stimulus Package

President-elect Barack Obama has met with his team of economic advisers in Washington and said the government must get its own fiscal house in order. He said new spending in the stimulus package will be carefully monitored, and won't include earmarks.

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MICHELE NORRIS, host:

The man Burris is hoping to replace, President-elect Barack Obama, spent his second full day in Washington this year once again huddling with his economic advisers. The president-elect is looking for ways to rein in the budget deficit, even as he calls for a massive economic stimulus package. NPR's Scott Horsley has our story.

SCOTT HORSLEY: Barack Obama's choice to head the White House Budget Office warns the federal government is on track to post a trillion dollar budget deficit. No one expects to change that in the short term while the government is frantically trying to stop the downward economic spiral. But eventually, Mr. Obama says, the government must get its own fiscal house in order.

President-elect BARACK OBAMA: We're going to have to bring significant reform, not just to our recovery and reinvestment plan, but to the overall budget process to address both the deficit of dollars and the deficit of trust.

HORSLEY: Mr. Obama says the new government spending in the stimulus package will be carefully monitored and will not include any earmarks. The president-elect was also asked today about his choice of Leon Panetta to head the Central Intelligence Agency. The nomination has not been formally announced, but some lawmakers are suggesting the former congressman and Clinton White House chief of staff doesn't have the necessary intelligence background for the post. Mr. Obama defended Panetta as a man of extraordinary management skills and integrity. He says he's putting together a topnotch intelligence team that will tell him not just what he wants to hear, but what he needs to know to keep the American people safe.

President-elect OBAMA: I think what you're also going to see is a team that is committed to breaking with some of the past practices and concerns that have, I think, tarnished the image of the agencies - the intelligence agencies as well as U.S. foreign policy.

HORSLEY: Panetta himself has criticized the CIA's use of harsh interrogation tactics. Scott Horsley, NPR News, Washington.

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