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Thursday, February 26, 2009; 10:57 AM

FEBRUARY 26, 2009


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[*] OBAMA: All right.

Before I begin, I have some good news to report. Starting today, the recently unemployed will benefit from a COBRA subsidy that will make health care affordable.

At a time when health care is too often too expensive for the unemployed, this critical step will help 7 million Americans who've lost their jobs keep their health care. That's 7 million Americans who will have one less thing to worry about when they go to sleep at night.

Equally important, it prevents a further downward spiral in our economy, by ensuring that these families don't fall further behind because of mounting health care bills.

And it is a direct result of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that I signed into law the other week, a recovery plan that has only just begun to yield benefits for the American people.

But, while we must add to our deficits in the short term to provide immediate relief to families and get our economy moving, it is only by restoring fiscal discipline over the long run that we can produce sustained growth and shared prosperity. And that is precisely the purpose of the budget I'm submitting to Congress today.

In keeping with my commitment to make our government more open and transparent, this budget is an honest accounting of where we are and where we intend to go.

For too long, our budget has not told the whole truth about how precious tax dollars are spent. Large sums have been left off the books, including the true cost of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. And that kind of dishonest accounting is not how you run your family budgets at home; it's not how your government should run its budgets either.

We need to be honest with ourselves about what costs are being racked up, because that's how we'll come to grips with the hard choices that lie ahead. And there are some hard choices that lie ahead.

Just as a family has to make hard choices about where to spend and where to save, so do we as a government. There are times where you can afford to redecorate your house, and there are times where you need to focus on rebuilding its foundation.

CONTINUED     1           >

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