Biden To Governors: "Call Me"

(AP)
Vice President Joe Biden today opened a White House conference for state officials on how they can best secure and use stimulus bill funds.

CBS News White House Correspondent Mark Knoller reports that the vice president said he and President Obama will release regulations tomorrow to further restrict how stimulus money is spent.

"All that is legal is not acceptable," said Biden. "Let me say it again: just because it may be legal, it is not acceptable – some of it. For example, you're gonna see regulations announced on Friday by the president…about things you'd ordinarily be able to spend federal money on, but we are not going to let you spend federal money on. I suspect most of you would not want to do it anyway. A little hint: no swimming pools in this money."

Biden also said that states must be smart in their use of the stimulus funds or risk never again receiving similar aid from Congress.

"If we don't get this right folks, this is the end of the opportunity to convince the Congress that anything should go to the states," he said, according to a pool report.

The vice president also told attendees that "the Great Depression was worse but it was not as complicated" as the current financial crisis.

Biden was introduced this morning by Energy Secretary Steven Chu, who called him "both the watchdog and the bulldog." The vice president said he would make himself directly available to governors who are having problems in dealing with the money.

"Tell your governors – literally – if they have a problem, if they're confused, if you're confused about what needs to be done – literally – pick up the phone and call me," he said. "Call me."

"I'm used to being accessible," he added. "I really mean it. Have your governors call me and we'll get it straightened out – 'cause we got to get it right."

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