POTUS: $17 Billion is ‘A Lot of Money’

May 7, 2009 11:24am

ABC News’ Yunji de Nies reports: Speaking in Eisenhower Executive Office building this morning, President Obama touted the $17 billion in budget cuts as a step toward building, "a government of the 21st century — a government that is more efficient and more effective. A government that does what we need it to do — and nothing we don’t." Flanked by the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) Peter Orszag and Rob Nabors, the president said Americans are tightening their belts and making tough decisions and that Washington must do the same. "We can no longer afford to spend as if deficits do not matter and waste is not our problem," Obama said. The president laid out a number of examples of the more than 100 programs that will face cuts or termination, saying that many of them were outdated or ineffective. The $17 billion in cuts add up to roughly one half of one percent of the $3.55 trillion budget. Still, the president said the savings are significant. "These savings, large and small, add up. The 121 budget cuts we are announcing today will save taxpayers nearly $17 billion next year alone. That’s a lot of money, even by Washington standards," he said. The president also spoke about other areas where his administration will save money, including healthcare, defense and the elimination of no-bid government contracts. "All told, by the end of my first term we will cut the deficit in half. Over the next decade we’ll bring non-defense discretionary spending to its lowest level as a share of Gross Domestic Product since 1962. We will also continue to look for ways we can save taxpayers money. And I know there are many in both parties in Congress committed to cutting spending and eager to work with us." — Yunji de Nies

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