Today President Obama made clear that as great as the demands on our government are, accountability will never fall by the wayside.
First, this morning leaders from across the country descended upon Washington with one mission in mind: implementing the Recovery Act. Vice President Joe Biden invited implementation ‘czars’ and representatives from all U.S. states and territories to take part in the White House Conference on American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Implementation. The conference was a chance for state officials to bring forward ideas and share best practices, as well as hear presentations from a number of Cabinet Secretaries and Administration officials, including Earl Devaney, Chairman of the Recovery Act Transparency and Accountability Board.
"States have a huge responsibility in partnering with us to ensure that dollars spent as part of the Recovery Act are spent wisely, with transparency and accountability," said Vice President Joe Biden, who has been tasked by the President to oversee the implementation of the Recovery Act. "Our hope for this conference is to meet face-to-face with the state officials and streamline this implementation process so we can get our economy running again."
During the conference, President Obama stopped by to share a few words of encouragement:
So my main message to all of you is I think you're up to the task; I think you guys will do extraordinary work with using these precious tax dollars that the American people have given up in order to deliver on the kind of economic growth -- short-term and long-term -- and job creation that's going to be so important.
But we're going to need to work really hard and we're going to have to make sure that every single dollar is well spent. We've got to go above and beyond what I think is the typical ways of doing business in order to make sure that the American people get the help that they need and that our economy gets the boost that it needs.
The White House Recovery and Reinvestment Act Implementation Conference is part of a large effort to ensure that dollars invested and spent as part of the Recovery Act are effective, transparent, and efficient. To learn more about today’s event, read the President’s
Likewise, when the President spoke to the Business Roundtable at the St. Regis Hotel in Washington this afternoon, he had a similar message of accountability on the financial stability leg of the stool:
[C]ritical to that solution is an honest and forthright assessment of the true status of bank balance sheets -- something that we've not yet had. And that's why the Treasury has asked bank regulators to conduct intensive examinations or "stress tests" of each bank.
When that process is complete next month, we will act decisively to ensure that our major banks have enough money on hand to lend to people even in more difficult times. And if we learn that such a bank has more serious problems, we will hold accountable those responsible, force the necessary adjustments, provide the support to clean up their balance sheets, and assure the continuity of a strong, viable institution that can serve our people and our economy.
I intend to hold these banks fully accountable for any assistance they'll receive, and this time they'll have to clearly demonstrate how taxpayer dollars result in more lending for the American taxpayer.
The crisis we face is the most severe in decades, and it will take an approach that addresses every facet of the crisis at once, but the scale of the problem only means accountability is more important than ever.