Obama on the Record: National Conference of State Legislatures

we are building on the provisions in the Recovery Act to forbid the use of these funds to build things like dog parks. Let me be clear: I don’t have anything against dog parks. What I do oppose is building them with funds from the Recovery Act – because that is not how we will jumpstart job creation and that is not how we will 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 are going to set an example here at the White House. Recently, a proposal was submitted requesting Recovery Act funds to modernize old electrical and heating systems in the East Wing of the White House. This is a much-needed project that is long overdue – and I hope Congress funds it in the future. But because this request does not meet the high standards I have set – because it will not create many jobs or advance our recovery – it will not be funded under the Recovery Act.

The rules I am 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. And they expect to see their hard-earned money spent efficiently. This extraordinary moment requires extraordinary responsibility on all our parts. There is little room for error – especially in a time of crisis.

During World War II, a largely unknown Senator grew concerned that waste, corruption, and scandal threatened to choke off our nation’s war efforts before they’d truly begun. Congress didn’t think a whole lot of the matter and granted him far less money than he asked for. But Harry Truman had the courage of his convictions so he traveled across the country gathering information, holding hundreds of hearings, and issuing dozens of reports. And when it was all over, he had saved billions of dollars, deterred corruption, and bolstered America’s confidence in the conduct of the war.

What Harry Truman understood was that spending tax dollars wisely isn’t just about keeping our books straight, it’s about fulfilling our obligation as keepers of the public trust. And while I do not know how long the road to recovery will be, I do know that if we act with the same sense of responsibility that Harry Truman showed all those years ago; and if we build a partnership that stretches from the State House to the White House; then will turn this economy around, and the American people will emerge from this crisis stronger than we were before. Thank you.

(Source: White House)

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