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Some critics have said Mr. Obama’s economic team is relying heavily on players who helped create the Wall Street atmosphere that contributed to the current financial woes, but lawmakers of both parties were comforted by Mr. Obama’s decision to use proteges of President Clinton’s centrist Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin.

Sen. Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, said he’s now “less concerned” than before because of the names Mr. Obama has announced.

Mr. Obama also scolded automakers, telling them they should not expect a “blank check” from the government.

“Taxpayers don’t want to see more money wasted, so we need to see a plan,” he said.

Paul R. Cullinan, a former Congressional Budget Office official who is now at the Brookings Institution, said that with 62 percent of the budget going to entitlement spending and much of the rest to defense and other nearly untouchable programs, there’s actually little room in the $3 trillion budget for cuts.

Still, he said, Mr. Obama should try to offer some cuts, if only for symbolic value.

“It might be a wise thing for a president to come in and take on some programs in the areas where his supporters expect they’ll only get increases - come in and say, nope, we’re going to scrub everywhere,” Mr. Cullinan said.

If Mr. Obama does want to make specific cuts, J.D. Foster, senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation, said there is a road map. The Bush administration every year evaluates programs for effectiveness and even proposes about 150 it says should be eliminated or drastically reduced. Most of the list continues to be funded by Congress anyway.

“His problem’s going to be the same one the Bush administration had: These programs exist because there are people in Congress who like them,” Mr. Foster said.

He also predicted that Mr. Obama will forgo massive spending cuts for now.

“They’re going to disregard the deficit as an issue for the first two or even three years, because it’s going to be so large,” he said.

On tax cuts, Mr. Obama had talked during the campaign about raising taxes on those making $250,000 or more and providing a tax cut for those making $200,000 or less. On Monday, he said he will follow through on the tax cuts, but said he’s not sure whether to immediately repeal the Bush tax cuts on high earners or to instead just wait for the tax cuts to expire on their own.

“Whether that’s done through repeal or whether that’s done because the Bush tax cuts are not renewed is something that my economic team will be providing me a recommendation on,” he said.

• John Ward contributed to this article.