Obama vows to drive waste from stimulus plan



President Barack Obama on Thursday pledged to ensure every dollar of his 787 billion dollar stimulus plan is well spent, as he rallied state officials charged with implementing the package.



  Obama vows to drive waste from stimulus plan
Obama and Vice President Joe Biden launched a fresh effort to assure US taxpayers that their money will be well spent in igniting economic recovery, at an implementation conference for government bureaucrats.
"We're going to have to make sure that every single dollar is well spent. If we see money being misspent, we're going to put a stop to it, and we will call it out and we will publicize it," said Obama, who triggered an audible gasp from his audience with an announced appearance at the meeting.
"You've got this wonderful mission and, you know, it's rare where you get a chance to put your shoulder to the wheel of history and move it in a better direction -- this is such an opportunity."
The stimulus plan, a mix of tax cuts and infrastructure spending, cleared Congress last month, and Obama is under fierce political pressure from Republicans who have branded the program a huge waste of money.
The governor of each state was invited to send their top official responsible for spending the billions of dollars of money pouring from Washington to projects all over the country.
Biden warned that if local officials failed to disburse money properly, they could expect little help from the federal government in the future, in the perennial struggle between Washington and the states.
"If ... six months from now, if the verdict on this effort is that we've wasted the money, we built things that were unnecessary, or we've done things that are legal but make no sense, then, folks, don't look for any help from the federal government for a long while," Biden said.
Biden also announced an investment of nearly eight billion dollars from the stimulus plan to weatherize and insulate homes designed to cut heating bills and save energy in a project tipped to create 87,000 jobs.
The money will mostly be available for low income families making a maximum of 44,000 dollars a year and could cut heating bills for those who benefit by an average of 32 percent, the White House said.


Thursday, March 12th 2009
AFP
           


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