Joe Biden

Remarks by the Vice President at the Recovery Act Implementation Meeting

March 26, 2009

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, folks, thanks for coming back again, especially the Cabinet Secretaries. I appreciate it. I know the a Cabinet Secretary may send a designee, but I know coming over here as often as I ask you to come is a little bit of a trek. Thanks.

I think that we got this off to a pretty good start, the recovery. And I've told you all, and you told me again, and keep telling everybody you're dealing with in the states that we got to get this right. It's a tremendous responsibility. So this is a -- doing this every day -- because it's a real responsibility.

These funds continue to be guided by three goals. One, are we going to help people who are down and out as a consequence of this economy be able to get through this? And that's everything from the unemployment, extension of unemployment insurance to the tax cut, and a lot in between.

Secondly, our objective is to create jobs. That's what we'll be doing -- and we've got some more good news coming I hope -- and also, in the process, lay a foundation for an economy that is not based upon relying on some new bubble. The housing bubble was not a sustainable way to continue to grow, nor was the bubble.

And so, so far I think we've been on track. But I have a couple of examples today -- which at least two of our departments are going to be announcing -- related to Recovery Act funds. And, Michael, you've got -- you're up to, what, five, six weeks ahead of schedule.


THE VICE PRESIDENT: We're going to be announcing -- we are announcing today that we are going to -- seniors receiving Social Security, as well as supplemental Social Security, are going to be receiving a $250 one-time payment that will begin in May, and will continue to be paid out through the month of May.

And we're six weeks -- you guys are six weeks ahead of schedule on this. And these folks need the money. It's going to also have a direct effect of $13 billion for the new economy, that people are going to be actually -- and so you're going to have 50 million people of the most vulnerable among us who are going to get some immediate help.

Secondly, we're announcing today the Department of Energy is investing $3.2 billion in state and local energy efficiency and conservation programs. We talked about that at our summit we had up in -- our Middle Class Task Force meeting up in Philadelphia. This is designed to -- come on in, Mr. Secretary, and have a seat. We just got started a little earlier.

And the Secretary who is handling this, Secretary Chu, said about this $3.2 billion, it's going to go from everything to making schools, for fire stations, libraries, public housing; it will deal with weatherization, greatly reducing costs, not only injecting money into the economy, hiring people to deal with this weatherization, but it's going to have the effect of reducing cost, reducing costs for individuals and municipalities in states across the country long term.

And our local leaders know their community best. So, Mr. Secretary, under the statute it is giving them the flexibility of how to do it, but we're monitoring -- he's monitoring how, in fact, this money will be spent, to make sure it's spent well, and it's spent wisely.

So, Mr. Secretary, I commend you, as well as the Social Security Administration, for taking these steps and moving as quickly as you have. The idea that there is going to be within the next month -- we're announcing the release today somewhere in excess of, I guess, it's close to $16 billion going out -- yes, $16.2 billion into the economy has benefits in and of itself beyond this specific purpose.

And so these are just two examples of what we're going to throughout the next months be announcing. The Recovery Act was signed into law not too many weeks ago, and I think we're well underway. The biggest investment we have made in infrastructure, which the Admiral will talk a little bit about today. And we're continuing to move forward with the Department of Transportation, the biggest investment since the highway bill was announced in the Eisenhower administration. We've made dramatic new commitments to renewable energy and energy efficiency, which the Secretary will be talking about more today, what his plans are to roll out the rest.

We're rebuilding our nation's schools, providing funding needed to keep teachers and cops -- countercyclical money out there to keep people employed, providing vital public services. And in just a few days, April 1st, the tax cuts we talked about, everyone is going to see -- 95 percent I should say, those who at least pay a payroll tax, will see an increase in their paycheck -- again, not only to help those folks, but we're injecting money back in the economy, designed to trying to get it growing again.

So every day, every week we see these funds going from Washington into American communities. And I believe we're starting to see some mild impact from this already. We have 18 months to get this job done, and we're going to get it done right.

I want you -- I told you all we're going to be hearing today -- I hired on Ed Deseve as the CEO for me running this operation. You've already been working with Earl Devaney, as you all -- by the way, each of your departments and all of you will work with both these guys. But Ed just came on, got hired on last week. And part of the purpose of the meeting today -- I want him to lay out to you what he's setting up, where he's setting up, how this forum is going to work, and so on and so forth. But I know he's talked with you all already.

So what I'd like to do now is to suggest that we get down to brass tacks here, and find out what's in your agenda for next week. Let's go back and give an assessment of how you think what we've done so far in each of your agencies has actually worked, and what we need to change, if anything/

So let's get moving. Okay.

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

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