- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 14, 2009

As he prepared to sign the massive economic recovery spending bill President Obama called Saturday for citizens to become watchdogs on where the $787 billion goes.

“Ultimately, this is your money, and you deserve to know where it’s going and how it’s spent,” Mr. Obama said in his weekly radio address, promising to help with the most ambitious spending scrutiny project the government has ever undertaken.

Mr. Obama called on “every American” to use recovery.gov — a Web site that will be up and running once the money begins to be spent — to track where the money is being spent and to “weigh in with comments and questions.”

Congress on Friday passed the final version of the spending bill, with the House voting 246-183 and the Senate 60-38 in favor.

No House Republicans and only three Senate Republicans voted for Democrats’ bill. Seven House Democrats joined their Republican colleagues in voting no.

Mr. Obama plans to sign when he returns from a weekend spent back at his home in Chicago.

He said the bill is important but is just the beginning of what the government must do to stabilize a foundering economy.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Alaska Republican, delivering Republicans’ own response radio address, said Republicans agree the economy needs help but said the spending bill goes too far with waste and long-term spending that won’t have any immediate job-creating benefits.

She said it also could create problems for the local officials it’s supposed to help.

“One Alaska school superintendent said the increased funding means new services in his district, but that once the stimulus funding runs out he wont be able to pay for them. And canceling some of these programs once theyve been created, he said, would expose his district to lawsuits,” she said.

As he has done repeatedly since taking office, Mr. Obama blamed the federal government’s fiscal problems on President Bush — “Our debt has doubled over the past eight years, and we’ve inherited a trillion dollar deficit,” he said — but Mr. Obama promised to try to submit a budget that will begin to restore discipline in spending.

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