Vice President Joe Biden announced today that just a week after President Obama signed the $787 billion economic stimulus bill, $15 billion in Medicaid funds are on their way to state governments and more announcements will come over the next week as the money starts flowing.
Biden said the Department of Housing and Urban Development today will give $10 billion to state and local governments to create and fund jobs through public housing projects.
Biden chaired the first meeting focused on oversight and implementation of the stimulus funds, a job he was given because “ nobody messes with Joe ,” President Obama said last night.
Biden said several times that this level and type of oversight is unprecedented and warned that he was going to be tough.
“I'm going to be a bit of a pain in the neck,” Biden said, telling Cabinet members that they will be having weekly meetings on this issue.
OMB Director Peter Orszag said that the web site the White House set up --- www.recovery.gov -- is getting 3,000 hits per second, which the Obama Administration believes is a sign of the strong interest in accountability and transparency for this massive amount of federal dollars.
Biden: We Will Publicly Embarrass Those Who Misuse Funds
This morning Biden put states on notice and made it clear that the White House is not going to sit back and do nothing if stimulus funds are misused.
“In some cases, we can withdraw the money, we can hold them accountable. And in other places we’ll just use the television, the radio and the media to embarrass them for not doing what they're supposed to do,” Biden said to Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts.
At the White House, Biden repeated his pledge to take to the airwaves to shame those who misuse the funds. “If the money's not being out there spent, I'm going to go on television and say, 'You know, we gave so and so X amount of dollars and nothing's happened. Why hasn't it happened?'"
Biden was joined in the meeting by Treasury Secretary Geithner; HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan; EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson; Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack; Interior Secretary Ken Salazar; Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood; Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Energy Secretary Steven Chu.
-- Karen Travers