Joe Biden

Remarks by the Vice President at the Economic Recovery Implementation Cabinet Meeting

April 09, 2009

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, I want to thank you all for being here again. I think this -- our once-a-week effort to try to make sure this Recovery Package stays on track is working. As my grandfather would say, God willing and the creek not rising, things are moving.

But I think we have good news again today to announce: A little more than seven weeks since we passed the Recovery Act we're already making good progress on repairing our economy. And I think we're doing a good job of making life a little better for average Americans out there.

Today I'm proud to make an announcement about the Department of Health and Human Services, and it's making a lot happen out there. First of all, we're going to announce today that $2.3 billion will be made available to care for our nation's children and improve our public health.

Across the country, parents are worried about finding a job, or just keeping the job they have. And when doing that, they shouldn't have to worry about finding affordable, quality day care. A lot of parents who have jobs are -- that's their -- that's their major concern. And those who are looking are trying to figure out how they can do both, get a job and be able to care for their children. And there should never have to be a choice between heading off to work and leaving your child in anything other than competent and good hands.

Today we'll make $2 billion available in Recovery Act funding for child support programs across the country. And these funds -- with these funds, states can provide vouchers families can use at child care centers and -- or contact directly with centers who serve children for working families. These funds will give more children the day care they need, competent day care, and a competence the parents need -- as many of you recording this know how hard it is to make sure when you walk away in the morning, that you think your child is in good hands. And we're going to give working parents the piece of mind that they need.

This week also marks the National Public Health Week, and I want to mention one Recovery Act investment that I believe is going to make our nation both safer and healthier. President Obama has said time and again that if we're going to fix the health care system we have to focus on preventing, preventing disease and illness before it happens. And that starts making sure that more Americans get the vaccines they need.

Today the administration is announcing that we will make $300 million available in Recovery Act funds to purchase and distribute vaccines, support innovative initiatives to protect more Americans, and help ensure that more Americans learn just how important it is to get vaccinated. Vaccines stop illnesses before they happen, eliminate long hospital stays, cut health care costs, improve public health, and flat out save lives. So simply, they make life a lot better for everyone in this country.

And just like everything else we've done in the Recovery Act, that's our only goal: Raise the living standard for average Americans out there; put them in a better place. Americans, I think, are, to state the obvious, counting on all of us around this table and the President of the United States and the Congress to step up to the ball. I think that's what we're doing. And now it's time for us to get back to work.

Again, to the press, we've been doing this on a weekly basis. And I've been meeting by telephone conference once a week with somewhere between 10 and 20 governors and mayors, because we want to make sure this practically -- practically happens. And where I began before you all came in, I have a -- my staff was a little concerned when I started saying, especially Ed was a little concerned, that we'd be on the phone talking to a governor or mayor, ask a question, I said, I'll get you the answer in 24 hours. And if we don't have an answer in 24 hours, we'll personally call you and tell you we don't have an answer and when we're going to get the answer. And these are all the answers coming. (Laughter.)

So I want to thank you all. I'm serious, people are -- I mean, this is the ultimate constituent service here. And I want to thank each of the Cabinet heads here, and those representing the Cabinet Secretaries, for the way in which we responded. Because I hope when this is all over, and the economy is back and roaring again, that what we're doing here sets a precedent for how from this moment on we handle the distribution of federal funding, cutting through bureaucratic red tape, having more accountability and transparency. And so that's a secondary goal to the ultimate goal, primary goal of making sure people get some help.

Thank you all for coming on in. And we're going to get to work.

Joseph R. Biden, Remarks by the Vice President at the Economic Recovery Implementation Cabinet Meeting Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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