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Stimulus guidelines out for spenders

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Steve Chiotakis: This morning, President Obama gets an update on how the $787 billion
stimulus package is working, and whether it’s on track to help reverse the nation’s financial fallout. The briefing comes from Former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker.

The administration also today unveils some stimulus guidelines on how state and local governments can and can’t spend their share. In Washington, here’s Marketplace’s John Dimsdale.


John Dimsdale: State and local governments already have plans to spend their stimulus money on everything from sewers to public housing. But federal officials say be careful.

Vice President Joe Biden: A little hint: no swimming pools in this money.

That’s Vice President Joe Biden, who’s been designated the “enforcer” of stimulus spending. He spoke to state officials yesterday:

Vice President Biden: Six months from now, if the verdict on this effort is that we’ve wasted the money or we built things that are unnecessary or we’ve done things that are legal but make no sense, then folks don’t look for any help from the federal government for a long while.

Some local officials worry the federal rules might slow down spending.

Ed Rosado with the National Association of Counties hopes money can flow directly to local governments without having to go through state capitals.

Ed Rosado: We understand the states have long lists of their priorities, but so do local governments, and we’re hoping there’ll be a partnership to ensure that all the needs are met at all levels.

Rosado says counties maintain more than 40 percent of the nation’s highways and bridges.

In Washington, I’m John Dimsdale for Marketplace.

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