The Man Likely To Run The White House Budget For the second time in two days, President-elect Barack Obama will introduce new members of his incoming administration's economic team. On tap Tuesday, the appointment of Peter Orszag as White House Budget director.
NPR logo

The Man Likely To Run The White House Budget

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/97458837/97458826" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
The Man Likely To Run The White House Budget

The Man Likely To Run The White House Budget

The Man Likely To Run The White House Budget

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/97458837/97458826" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

For the second time in two days, President-elect Barack Obama will introduce new members of his incoming administration's economic team. On tap Tuesday, the appointment of Peter Orszag as White House Budget director.

ALEX COHEN, host:

On the heels of Secretary Paulson's announcement, President-elect Obama held his own news conference today in Chicago. He announced that Rob Neighbors will be his deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget. Mr. Obama also signaled that there would be a change in his administration in budgeting and spending priorities.

(Soundbite of speech)

President-elect BARACK OBAMA: This isn't about big government or small government. It's about building a smarter government that focuses on what works. And that's why I will ask my new team to think anew and act anew to meet our new challenges.

COHEN: The president-elect also named his choice for White House Budget Director. It's Peter Orzag. Here to tell us a bit more is NPR's David Schaper, joining us from Chicago. David, who is Peter Orzag? What do we know about him?

DAVID SCHAPER: Well, Peter Orzag is currently director of the Congressional Budget Office. There he oversees the objective, nonpartisan timely analysis of economic and budget data issues for the Congress. Prior to that he was a staff economist in the White House under President Clinton and an economic policy adviser to the president. So he's another economic centrist out of the school of former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin and a former member of the Clinton economic team. And there are some liberal democratic leaders and economists concerned that this new administration that Barack Obama is putting together won't really be too much of the change we can believe in, but a step back to the 1990s and the Clinton days.

COHEN: So what does this addition of Orzag to the president-elect's team have to say about his plan to deal with the current economic crisis?

SCHAPER: Well, along the lines of the change and changing the way government thinks and the way government spends, one area that President-elect Obama says that he shares a vision with Peter Orzag is in their view of that changing the way government spends on health care. Currently it's not a very effective or efficient system. It is a huge component of the increasing federal budget. It's the fastest rising cost in the federal budget. And they believe that investing more smartly - investing in greater technology and modernizing health care could go a long way to saving money in the long run. So there is expected to be a significant increase in spending on health care and a revamping of the health-care system.

COHEN: I hear that Mr. Orzag is a big fan of cowboy boots. Was he there today, and did you spy any on his feet?

SCHAPER: You know, I was at a bad angle to see, but he loves to wear his cowboy boots with his suit, and is a big country music fan, and likes to run marathons, too.

COHEN: NPR's David Schaper from Chicago. Thank you.

SCHAPER: Thank you.

Copyright © 2008 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.