Obama on the Record: National Conference of State Legislatures

level of transparency in how we invest taxpayer dollars. And it will require a new sense of responsibility here in Washington and in our states. That is a standard we have sought to uphold from the very beginning. That’s why I asked Joe Biden to ensure that we are implementing our Recovery Act quickly, and implementing it well. 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. 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 are delivering results. And 46 states have launched their own websites – linked to recovery.gov – to help people keep track of how money is being spent down to the local level.

And today, as part of our continuing efforts to make government more accountable, we are taking the next step in implementing the Recovery Act. I am 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. They will not be made as a way of doing favors for lobbyists. Any lobbyists who want 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. 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 all about. These are unprecedented restrictions that will help ensure that lobbyists do not stand in the way of our recovery.

This plan cannot and will not be an excuse for waste and abuse. Whenever a project comes up for review, we will ask a few simple questions: 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 will 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; and initiatives that help make health care more affordable, 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 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

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