- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 18, 2009

WASHINGTON (AP) - Vice President Joe Biden issued a stern warning to local officials Wednesday, urging them to “get it right” when it comes to spending money from the administration’s $787 billion economic stimulus package.

“The work you are doing is being watched very closely, not just by me, but by everybody,” Biden said.

Biden spoke at a conference of city and county officials who are charged with overseeing stimulus spending in their communities. The officials were invited for a day of schooling on how to make the massive spending program work, and to hear from Cabinet and administration officials.

President Barack Obama says the stimulus will save or create 3.5 million jobs this year and next through investment in infrastructure, energy, schools and other spending.

Biden urged officials to spend wisely, and advised against funding projects like swimming pools and golf courses, which could be perceived by the public as wasteful.

“I’ll show up in your city, and tell you it was a stupid idea,” said Biden, who has been tasked by the president with overseeing the implementation of the stimulus.

Biden also announced Wednesday that $100 million will go toward providing meals to low-income older Americans. The funding is expected to provide nearly 14 million meals nationwide.

“The Recovery Act will help ensure older Americans are not forced to choose between paying bills and buying food,” Biden said.

Despite his warnings for the officials, Biden tried to strike an optimistic note.

“We will recover,” he said. “The economy will grow.”

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