Obama: States get first bite of stimulus

President tells governors that payouts will begin with $15 billion in new Medicaid assistance starting Wednesday.

EMAIL  |   PRINT  |   SHARE  |   RSS
 
google my aol my msn my yahoo! netvibes
Paste this link into your favorite RSS desktop reader
See all CNNMoney.com RSS FEEDS (close)

Which government rescue program will help the most people?
  • Housing
  • Stimulus
  • Autos
  • Banks

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Barack Obama announced Monday that cash-strapped state governments will see the first influx of federal stimulus-related assistance later this week.

The money, Obama noted at a White House meeting with governors, will be distributed starting Wednesday in the form of more than $15 billion in new Medicaid assistance.

"That means that by the time most of you get home money will be waiting to help 20 million vulnerable Americans in your states keep their health care coverage," Obama told the governors.

But the money, Obama warned, is "not a blank check" to state governments. The money is "intended to go directly toward helping struggling Americans keep their health care coverage ... We're going to work with you closely to make sure that this money is spent the way it's supposed to."

The president said he would not hesitate "to call out" state governments that spend the money in a wasteful or inappropriate manner.

In that vein, Obama announced the appointment of former Interior Department Inspector General Earl Devaney to head a new Recovery Act Transparency and Accountability Board to ensure the $787 billion stimulus package is spent in an open, efficient manner.

"Earl has doggedly pursued waste, fraud and mismanagement (and) has the reputation of being one of the best inspector generals that we have in this town," Obama said. "I can't think of any more tenacious and efficient guardian of the hard-earned tax dollars the American people have entrusted us to wisely invest."

Vice President Biden, he added, will oversee the administration's stimulus spending implementation efforts "to make sure our efforts are not just swift, but also efficient and effective."

The "unprecedented spending" of the stimulus package, Obama added, comes with an "unprecedented obligation" to avoid waste.

Obama also had harsh words for conservative critics of the stimulus plan who have argued that the it contains needless pork barrel spending.

"When I hear people who say, well, there's a lot of waste in this program, from my perspective at least, keeping teachers in the classroom is not wasteful," he argued.

"From my perspective, tax cuts to 95% of working families is not wasteful. From my perspective, providing all of you additional resources to rebuild roads and bridges and levees and dams ... that will enhance the quality of life of your state, but also make it more economically competitive. That's not wasteful."

"If we agree on 90% of the stuff and we're spending all our time on television arguing about 1%, 2%, 3% of the spending in this thing and somehow it's been characterized in broad brush as wasteful spending, that starts sounding more like politics, and that's what right now we don't have time to do." To top of page

Features
They're hiring!These Fortune 100 employers have at least 350 openings each. What are they looking for in a new hire? More
If the Fortune 500 were a country...It would be the world's second-biggest economy. See how big companies' sales stack up against GDP over the past decade. More
Sponsored By:
More Galleries
My part-time job is a dead end, but it's all I can find CNNMoney profiles 4 of America's 7 million part-time workers unable to find full-time jobs. More
Cool cars from the LA Auto Show There are some of the standout vehicles on display this year at the Los Angeles Auto Show. More
American Dream homes: Prices in 10 cities How much does the American Dream home cost? From $2 million in Los Altos, Calif., to $65,000 in Cleveland, here's what you'll pay for a 4-bedroom, 2-bath house, according to Coldwell Banker's annual survey. More

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.