While President Obama travels abroad, his administration is continuing the public relations campaign to promote the stimulus plan at home.
Vice President Biden and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack visited a medical center in Faison, North Carolina Wednesday to speak about the stimulus plan's impact on rural health clinics.
According to a White House press release, approximately $500 million of the $2 billion allotted to community health centers has already gone out the door.
"Community health centers are at the heart of many of our rural communities," Biden said. "Sometimes, these clinics are the only health facilities for miles and miles. The Recovery Act's investment is crucial meeting the health and medical needs of millions of Americans."
The Associated Press reports that the Obama administration released the first $44 billion dollars designated for school expansion in the stimulus package today. Announcing the release at a Maryland elementary school, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said, "it's critical the money go out quickly, but it's even more important this money be spent wisely."
The administration hopes the stimulus plan will keep teachers from losing their jobs – though, as the AP reports, there is no estimate as to how many jobs will be salvaged. Up to nine percent of the nation's teachers could see layoffs due to state budget cuts.
Not everyone is taking advantage of the federal funds, however. Alaska Governor Sarah Palin announced in March that her state would only accept thirty percent of the stimulus money offered, and other Republican governors have said they are turning down a portion of the money as well. In addition, the Palmetto Scoop reported today that President Obama has written a letter to South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford warning him that if the state does not apply for federal funds by Friday the roughly $700 million dollars allotted will no longer be available.