Obama promises oversight, quick spending

President Obama sought to reassure skeptics of his proposed stimulus package at a midday press conference, promising to quickly pump the funds into the economy and provide transparency through a new Web site.

Obama, who has tried, unsuccessfully thus far, to woo Republican support for the plan, said he understood concerns about the package.

"I know that some are skeptical about the size and scale of this recovery plan," he said. "I understand that skepticism, which is why this recovery plan will include unprecedented measures that will allow the American people to hold my administration accountable."

Most of the money will go right back out the door, Obama added, reiterating his pledge to spend three-quarters of the funds by the start of 2011. Critics have scrutinized that contention in recent days, following the release of a Congressional Budget Office report that says just 64 percent of the $825 billion package will be spent by the end of next year.

Obama also announced that would-be auditors will be able to track stimulus spending on the new Web site Recovery.gov. (The site is more or less treating the package as a fait accompli, reading, "Check back after the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to see how and where your tax dollars are spent.")

Obama said his administration was putting up the Web site "because I firmly believe with Justice [Louis] Brandeis that sunlight is the best disinfectant, and I know that restoring transparency is not only the surest way to achieve results, but also to earn back that trust in government without which we cannot deliver the changes the American people sent us here to make."

Check out the blog Lost in Transition, a joint effort of Government Executive and National Journal.

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