President Barack Obama will issue regulations on March 13 detailing how states can spend their stimulus money, Vice President Joe Biden said at Thursday's Recovery and Reinvestment Act Implementation Conference in Washington.
Biden told state officials at the event that not all legal spending will be acceptable under the stimulus rules.
"You're going to see regulations announced on Friday by the president, with me with him, about things you'd ordinarily be able to spend federal money on, but we are not going to let you spend federal money on," Biden said. "A little hint: No swimming pools in this money."
Biden warned top budget officials from 49 states that how they manage the stimulus funds now likely will affect how much financial assistance Congress gives them in the future.
"Six months from now, if the verdict on this effort is that we've wasted the money, we built things that were unnecessary, or we've done things that are legal but make no sense, then, folks, don't look for any help from the federal government for a long while," Biden said. "The folks in the House and in the Senate are going to make sure you wear the jacket, not them."
Biden has been leading the stimulus implementation effort for the White House since Feb. 23, holding weekly meetings with Cabinet members on their plans and activities. Biden acknowledged on Thursday that it was unusual for vice presidents to convene Cabinet meetings, but said the president and he believed that it was crucial to sit down frequently with agency heads to discuss economic recovery efforts.
"This is a big deal," Biden said. "It's also being closely watched not just by me, but by the president, and by [Earl] Devaney [chairman of the Recovery Act Transparency and Accountability Board], who is one of the most respected [inspectors general] we have in the federal government, and is known by many of you. And it's also being watched by the taxpayers, and it's being watched by the media."