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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
September 10, 2007
President Bush Ceremonially Swears in Director of Office of Management and Budget Jim Nussle
Dwight D. Eisenhower Executive Office Building
1:11 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all. Please be seated. Thank you for joining us as I welcome the new Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Jim Nussle. I congratulate Jim. I thank him for agreeing to serve.
Public service is a family commitment. And I want to thank Karen, Sarah and Mark and all the members of Jim's family for supporting him as he takes on this important duty.
I appreciate the Vice President being here to swear in the newest member of the Cabinet. I appreciate the members of my Cabinet for joining us. Thank you all for taking time out of your busy schedules to be here. I know Jim appreciates it.
I appreciate Paul Ryan, a member of the House of Congress --a member of Congress from Wisconsin and the ranking member of the House Budget Committee. He's here because he understands that the man I picked to run the OMB knows what he's doing.
The Director of OMB is one of the most important jobs in government. It's a vital assignment. I picked a man who knows how to count -- (laughter) -- and knows how to work with Congress to get the job done.
This agency oversees the broad range of operations essential to the day-to-day operations of the federal government. It requires a leader who believes in the people, who cares about the people of the United States. Jim is such a person. It also requires a leader who knows how to keep taxes low, because that's what we intend to do.
When it came time to search for a new OMB Director, it wasn't hard to find in Jim Nussle the kind of person I was looking for: somebody who can get a tough job done, and somebody who has a solid record of fiscal restraint. For six years, Jim served as chairman of the Budget Committee in the House of Representatives. He accomplished his tasks with a lot of skill. He was able to work with people from both parties, and with the administration, I might add, handling the tough job. He understands that the federal dollars don't come out of thin air. In other words, when we spend money up here, we're spending the people's money. He understands every dollar spent in Washington is a dollar that cannot be used by a small business owner or a farmer or the families trying to save for their children's future.
It's our responsibility to ensure that we run our government wisely and to spend the people's money wisely. Jim Nussle understands that. He also understands that cutting taxes has helped our economy grow. We've overcome some tough times in America. When you lower taxes in the face of a recession or uncertainty, it enables people to have more money to spend, save or invest. And the tax cuts that we passed have worked. The economy is -- grew at over 3 percent the last quarter. Our national unemployment rate is 4.6 percent. Inflation is low. The best way to make sure our growth continues is not to raise the taxes on the people.
So we've submitted a budget that keeps taxes low and will enable us to achieve balance by 2012. And Jim Nussle understands this is a realistic budget. And I look forward to working with him to get our budgets passed through the United States Congress. I understand it's going to be tough work, Jim, because people up there want to raise taxes. We can't let them do so for the sake of our families, for the sake of economic vitality.
I appreciate very much the fact that he knows what I know, that the OMB has got some highly professional, hardworking people who are serving the country. And I thank the good folks who work at the Office of Management and Budget. I thank you for your service to the country. I'm looking forward to you getting to know Jim Nussle. He, like me, will appreciate what you're doing for the United States.
And so, Jim, I congratulate you on assuming this important position. I appreciate your family supporting you. And now I ask the Vice President to swear you in.
DIRECTOR NUSSLE: Thank you, Mr. President, for your kind words. And Mr. Vice President, thank you for being here. It's a real special honor to have you both here. And to have all of you here, friends and family, and so many people who have meant so much to me. My wife, Karen, obviously; my kids, Sarah and Mark who are here; my mom and dad; my in-laws; my mother-in-law and so many of my sisters -- or my wife's sister's family, and so many others that are here. I'd like to thank you all for being here. I have former colleagues that are here and I have future colleagues that are here. And I'm very honored that you've taken time to do this.
And I want to point out someone very special who has been my -- first my predecessor and my mentor, Tom Tauke who is here. And I want to thank you for being here today.
Mr. President, it's a real honor and a privilege to have this opportunity to work for you and to serve the country. Through your leadership, the economy is growing, the deficit is declining, and we're on a path to surplus. I look forward to serving you in the Cabinet and build on this very solid record of accomplishment.
Looking all the way back to my days at Luther College as a student, I took a -- maybe some might say a strange interest in the federal budget process thanks to a professor who took some interest in me, Joan Thompson. And I have to say I never dreamed that I would be given this very extraordinary opportunity as I sat in that classroom back then. But I'm very honored to be here.
As House budget chairman, I took very seriously the responsibility of delivering results for the taxpayers. I believed in good stewardship, and that it's an essential bond that government needs to have with its citizens. And as the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, I will continue to insist on accountability and results as we implement your goal to balance the budget.
I want to thank the United States Senate for their bipartisan support of my nomination. And I look forward to continuing to work with its members and members of both sides of the aisle in both chambers at this very critical time for our nation's budget and our economy.
I have benefited from very talented predecessors in this job during your administration, Mr. President -- Mitch Daniels, Josh Bolten, who is here, and Rob Portman, my friend and immediate predecessor. I want to thank them for their hard work, for their leadership, and for leaving me with, as you indicated, a fantastic and a very dynamic team at OMB so that I can hit the ground running. And I'm going to need to. We're going to have to run very fast. There's just a lot to do. There's a big challenge out there to finish the 12 annual spending bills in a fiscally responsible way.
And we need action. And while completing work on these bills is essential, we have to remember that they only count for 40 percent of the annual budget. There's a much bigger challenge out there on the horizon with our nation's long-term fiscal health, what many have referred to and what I would refer to as the unsustainable growth in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. We've got to tackle that. And Mr. President, as you've proposed reasonable and responsible reforms that I intend to push on your behalf, either for a dialogue with my former colleagues, but also to push for action, because we need it.
I believe government spending should be restrained, and I also believe it should be transparent, so that taxpayers could see what results they are getting for their money. And I will continue to make OMB's management responsibilities a priority to ensure Americans are getting a good bang for their taxpayer's buck. It's really all about results, as you have said many times.
The President has worked hard to reduce the tax burden for the American workers and families, and as a result, I believe given Americans much more control over their money. We've seen remarkable economic growth in terms of certainly more jobs, higher wages, greater business investment, all of which is creating opportunities and improving the standards of living for all Americans. And I look forward to advancing the President's pro-growth, low-tax policies as they have and continue to strengthen our economy.
I'd also like to thank Steve McMillin, who served as the acting OMB Director and the captain of the ship during the interim period. Steve just did a fantastic job, and every day I learn more and more about his talents and abilities, and just a tremendous person to have as a deputy and a wing man. And I want to thank him for his leadership on behalf of the office.
I want to just say a few words about Iowa, the people who make up that great state. I've learned firsthand from the people there. They are hardworking, decent folks, people who work hard, business owners, farmers, teachers, family people. They're just good people. And their experience that they've given me, my optimism, work ethic, and success, if I've had any, come from not only my family and my friends, but from the people of Iowa. And I want to thank them for the strong foundation and the lessons learned that I know I'll need if I'm going to be successful in this job.
So let me end by thanking Karen and my family for their love and support. I want to thank you again, Mr. President, for your confidence in me. And I'm excited to get to work and tackle some of these challenges. And I'm eager to begin. Thank you very much. (Applause.)
END 1:22 P.M. EDT