Obama, Biden on the Record: National Conference of State Legislatures

building on a clean-energy economy. And that’s why it makes a down payment on a complete and competitive education for every child in America — from the cradle up through the time that they get a career. In short, our budget will strengthen each of our 50 states for generations to come.

And that’s also the purpose of the Recovery Act that I signed into law last month. It’s a plan that will not only help states and painful budget cuts, but also make a meaningful difference in the lives of Americans across this country. Because of what we did, there will be teachers in the classroom and police on the beat who otherwise wouldn’t be pursuing their essential missions. Because of what we did, neighborhood health clinics are creating jobs and providing affordable care to those who need it. And because of what we did, 95 percent of hardworking families will receive a tax cut — a tax cut that they’ll see in their paychecks starting on April 1st. So altogether we expect to create or save 3.5 million jobs — 90 percent of which are in the private sector.

It’s the most sweeping recovery plan in our nation’s history, and with a plan of such size comes an obligation to be vigilant with every dime we spend. That will require all of us — me, Joe, each of you — to hold yourselves accountable. It will require a new level of transparency in how we invest taxpayer dollars. It will require a new sense of responsibility here in Washington, but also in the 50 states. And that’s a standard that we’ve sought to uphold from the very beginning. That’s why I asked Joe to ensure that we are implementing our Recovery Act quickly, and implementing it well.

And that’s why I’ve appointed a proven and aggressive Inspector General to help prevent waste and fraud before it happens and root it out when it does. And that’s why, on the very day I signed our Recovery Act into law, we launched a website called recovery.gov — so that Americans can see where their tax dollars are going and make sure we’re delivering results. And 46 states have launched their own web sites — linked to recovery.gov — to help people keep track of how money is being spent down to the local level.

Today, as part of our continuing efforts to make government more accountable, we’re taking the next step in implementing the Recovery Act. I’m issuing a directive that will provide guidelines to federal agencies for what does and what does not constitute an acceptable use of taxpayer money; guidelines that will help ensure that we are proving ourselves worthy of the great trust the American people have placed in us.

That starts with a fundamental commitment. Decisions about how Recovery Act dollars are spent will be based on the merits. Let me repeat that: Decisions about how Recovery money will be spent will be based on the merits.

They will not be made as a way of doing favors for

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