Biden Claims $600 Billion In Stimulus Funds Spent -- ‘We’re Building a Government That Delivers More Bang for the Buck Than Ever Before’
Biden delivered his remarks by video at a conference on how government can work more efficiently, held by the liberal Center for American Progress (CAP) in Washington, D.C.
“Our country is facing enormous challenges, from the economy, to health care, to energy security,” Biden said. “In all these areas, Americans deserve a government that actually works.”
“We also face long-term fiscal problems that we are just unable to ignore," he said.
“In a moment, you’re going to be hearing from members of our cabinet on how we’re trying to build a government that delivers much more bang for the buck than it ever has before,” Biden told attendees.
Biden also said the Obama administration is working to eliminate waste while “enlisting the public in government decisions and oversight through unprecedented transparency.”
As an example of transparency, Biden mentioned that it is part of his job to oversee the spending of the $787 billion in economic stimulus funds. The money was authorized by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which President Obama signed into law on Feb. 13, 2009.
“So far, we’ve spent $600 billion, and we’re seeing waste, fraud, and abuse claims at just about two-tenths of 1 percent of the entire amount of money spent,” Biden said.
“We’re making great strides and we’re delighted that the Center for American Progress is doing the ‘What Works’ project (and) are working right along side us – in fact, together we can make sure that we have government that people can trust; government that people can rely on; and a government that actually gets things done effectively, efficiently, without waste, without fraud, without abuse,” Biden said.
“That’s what Americans are looking for and that’s what we pledge to give them,” he said.
According to the Recovery.gov Web site, however, only about $488 billion of the total stimulus funds have been injected into the economy over the last 18 months.
As reported earlier by CNSNews.com, the recovery.gov Web site, launched by the Obama administration to track the distribution of the stimulus funds, showed that as of May 21, $398.7 billion had been paid out, or 50.6 percent of the funds had actually been injected into the economy through grants, loans, contracts, entitlements and tax benefits. Now the Web site reports $488 billion has been paid out.
In June, a spokeswoman with the Recovery Office told CNSNews.com that the Obama administration was “on-track” for reaching its goal of spending the majority of the stimulus funds by the end of September 2010.
“From the beginning, we committed to spend 70 percent of Recovery Act funds by the end of September 2010 and we remain right on-track to meet that target,” Liz Oxhorn, the Recovery Act communications director, told CNSNews.com.
Estimates by the Recovery Office also claim that all but $2 billion of the $787 billion are already “spoken for” and that obligated funds are merely awaiting logistical clearance, which varies according to the nature of the project, so that payment can be made.
The “Doing What Works” conference put on by CAP – a liberal think tank run by John Podesta, the former chief of staff to Bill Clinton -- featured several panels, including one comprised of members of Obama’s cabinet: Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke; Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan; Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services Bill Corr; and Deputy Secretary with the Department of Education Anthony Miller.
The discussion by panelists centered on the findings of a report published this month by CAP entitled, Better, Not Smaller: What Americans Want for Their Federal Government.
The report says that a May survey of 2,523 adults conducted by Hart Research Associates reveals that “people would rather improve government than reduce its size.”
The cabinet members and other panelists spoke at length about how the Obama administration is working toward that goal by making fundamental changes in how it does business, including streamlining hiring practices, eliminating waste, and giving Americans unprecedented access to data collected by the government.
Corr touted the new $3.5 million HHS Web site, healthcare.gov, and Commerce Secretary Locke said his agency is working toward returning millions of dollars to the U.S. Treasury for programs that were completed under budget, including the 2010 Census.