CHICAGO (AFP) — President-elect Barack Obama was set Tuesday to promote swift action to revive the US economy, and appeal for sacrifice from voters and politicians alike, in his second press conference in as many days.
A day after naming his economic team and touting a plan to create 2.5 million jobs through an infrastructure spending spree, Obama was expected to detail plans to slash the federal budget at the 1700 GMT briefing here.
Obama urged Congress Monday to draft a new stimulus package quickly so he could sign it as soon as he takes office on January 20, warning there is not a "minute to waste" in dealing with an economy "trapped in a vicious cycle."
He declined to reveal the cost of a plan that some reports said could top 700 billion dollars but said: "It is going to be of a size and scope that is necessary to get this economy back on track."
Obama added: "To make the investments we need, we'll have to scour our federal budget, line by line, and make meaningful cuts and sacrifices as well -- something I'll be discussing further tomorrow."
New Jersey's Democratic governor, former Goldman Sachs boss Jon Corzine, said a stimulus package of 700 billion dollars was "the kind of number" needed "to make sure that we're able to get this economy jump-started."
"(Obama) wants to make sure that we're putting together our long-term interests, building up our infrastructure, and creating jobs now," he told CNN early Tuesday.
"So a lot of resources will go at refitting our economy, have long-term benefits as well as short-term job creation."
Obama Monday nominated New York Federal Reserve president Timothy Geithner to take charge of the Treasury and Washington's 700-billion-dollar bailout for troubled financial institutions.
Geithner, 47, has been at the sharp end of executing the US administration's series of rescue deals, including most recently Citigroup.
Obama said he had been in touch with President George W. Bush about the Citigroup bailout, and promised to honor Bush's commitments, which stretched Tuesday to a Fed plan to pump up to 800 billion dollars into the financial system in purchases of mortgage- and asset-backed securities.
Unusually for a president-elect, Obama is publicizing his own economic agenda well in advance of taking office in a bid to hit the ground running and to reassure jittery investors around the world.
Despite his call for belt-tightening, the Democrat is also intent on long-term spending to patch up crumbling roads and schools and to retool the economy for an environmental revolution.
Along with Geithner, Obama named blunt-talking former Treasury secretary Larry Summers, 53, to take charge of the White House's National Economic Council and coordinate economic policy across the administration.
Further economic appointments were expected soon, with an announcement possible at Tuesday's press conference.
Those could include Obama's pick for commerce secretary, with New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson reportedly in line for the job of promoting domestic industry.
According to CNN, Congressional Budget Office chief Peter Orszag will be director of the Office of Management and Budget, which will have the unenviable task of poring over the deficit-ridden budget to pay for Obama's promises.
His new team will develop recommendations for the stimulus plan and consult with Congress, the Bush administration, and the Federal Reserve on economic developments over the next two months, Obama said.
"And that work starts today, because the truth is, we don't have a minute to waste," he said Monday.
Obama is meanwhile soon expected to fill out his national security posts and select a secretary of state -- with former Democratic rival Hillary Clinton hotly tipped to serve as diplomat-in-chief.
Susan Rice, an Obama campaign advisor and a former assistant secretary of state for African affairs, has emerged as the leading candidate to be nominated US ambassador to the United Nations, ABC News reported.
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