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

lobbyists. Any lobbyist who wants to talk with a member of my administration about a particular Recovery Act project will have to submit their thoughts in writing, and we will post it on the Internet for all to see. (Applause.) If any member of my administration does meet with a lobbyist about a Recovery Act project, every American will be able to go online and see what that meeting was about. These are unprecedented restrictions that will help ensure that lobbyists don’t stand in the way of our recovery.

And this plan cannot and will not be an excuse for waste and abuse. Whenever a project comes up for review, we’re going to ask a simple question: Does it advance the core mission of the Recovery Act? Does it jumpstart job creation? Does it lay the foundation for lasting prosperity?

The initiatives that will get priority will be ones that have demonstrated how they meet this test; initiatives that maximize the number of jobs we are creating so we can get the most bang out of every taxpayer buck; initiatives that help make health care more affordable, and rebuild our crumbling roads and bridges, or provide other enduring benefits to the American people.

Now, no plan is perfect. And I can’t stand here and promise you that not one single dollar will slip through the cracks. But what I can promise you is that we will do everything in our power to prevent that from happening — which is why we’re building on the provisions in the Recovery Act to forbid the use of these funds to build things like dog parks. Now, let me be clear: I don’t have anything against dog parks. (Laughter.) I intend to get a dog. (Laughter.) What I do oppose is building them with funds from the Recovery Act — because that’s not how we’ll jumpstart job creation and that’s not how we’ll put our economy on a firmer footing for the future.

And because I’m not willing to ask all of you to do what I’m not willing to do myself, we’re going to set an example here in the White House. Now, I’ll give you an example. Recently, a proposal was submitted requesting Recovery Act funds to modernize old electrical and heating systems in the East Wing of the White House. Now, this is a much-needed project that’s long overdue — and I hope Congress funds it in the future. But because this request does not meet the high standards that I have set — because it will not create many jobs or advance our recovery — it will not be funded under the Recovery Act.

So the rules I’m putting in place today will help create a new culture of accountability. And I’m pleased that the U.S. Conference of Mayors has committed to joining us in this effort. I don’t need to remind you that the American people are watching what we do. They need this plan to work. They’re skeptical — and understandably, because they’ve seen taxpayer dollars frittered away

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