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Obama Announces Budget Team


President-elect Barack Obama made two more appointments to his economic team Tuesday and said budget reform was a major priority for his incoming administration. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.

At his campaign headquarters in Chicago, the president-elect announced that Peter Orszag will head the Office of Management and Budget.

Orszag is currently the director of the congressional budget office. Robert Nabors, a high-ranking congressional committee aide, will be Orszag's deputy.

Mr. Obama said budget reform was a necessity, not an option, and he said he will direct his new budget team to scour the federal budget in search of cost savings and inefficient government programs.

"We are going to go through our federal budget, as I promised during the campaign, page by page, line by line, eliminating those programs we don't need and insisting those that we do need operate in a sensible, cost-effective way," he said.

It was Mr. Obama's second news conference in as many days focused on turning around the ailing U.S. economy.

On Monday, Mr. Obama named the key members of his economic team, including his nominee for Treasury secretary, Tim Geithner, and his main economic advisor in the White House, Lawrence Summers.

Mr. Obama and Democratic congressional leaders are working on an economic stimulus plan that could cost $500 billion. The hope is that the stimulus plan would save or create 2.5 million jobs over a two-year period.

Congressional leaders hope to have the plan ready for Mr. Obama's signature shortly after he takes office on January 20.

Mr. Obama said again Tuesday that he intends to focus full force on the economy in the early days of his administration.

"We don't intend to stumble into the next administration," he said. "We are going to hit the ground running. We are going to have clear plans of action. We intend to have the kind of economy recovery plan that is going to put 2.5 million people into jobs."

Meanwhile, the man Mr. Obama defeated in the election on November 4, Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona, held his first news conference since the election.

McCain said he intends to run for re-election to the Senate in two years, but laughed off the prospect of another run for president.

"We worked hard and we inspired a lot of people, Sarah Palin and I, and I think we look back with pride at the campaign we ran and accept very much that the people have made a decision. So, the decision that I am basically making is to continue to serve the state of Arizona and my country," he said.

Senator McCain praised some of President-elect Obama's appointments, especially the reported pick of Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano to be the next Homeland Security secretary.

McCain said he would soon visit Iraq and Afghanistan to assess the military situations there.

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