OBAMA ECONOMY

POSTED: Monday, February 23, 2009 - 11:33am

UPDATED: Wednesday, February 17, 2010 - 3:23pm

President Obama said today the first chunk of that multi-billion dollar stimulus is going out this week and he's put the vice president in charge of making sure it works...

In addition to getting these stimulus funds out of Washington, the president's also working on a plan to cut the nation's budget deficit by dealing with health care.

President Obama's putting Vice President Biden in charge of getting $787 billion, the stimulus, out of Washington and into America's communities.

President Obama said "we are serious about putting this plan into action swiftly."

Today he named Earl DeVaney, inspector general for the Interior Department, as watchdog over those funds.

Mr. Obama told the nation's governors this morning health care is what's draining their budgets.

So Wednesday, he's releasing $15 billion of the stimulus to help states cover the soaring cost of Medicaid.

President Obama said "by the time most of you get home, money will be waiting to help 20 million vulnerable Americans in your states keep their health care coverage.

He wants to reform Medicare and Medicaid this year to cut the nation's deficit in half in four years.

Peter Orszag, Director of the Office of Management & Budget said "we need to act in order to avoid creating a big problem in the future and the key to that is getting health care under control."

Also today there's new concern about banks.

Five federal agencies announced that, starting Wednesday, they'll give struggling banks the money they need to stay afloat.

Economists say even in this economy, there's still interest in borrowing money.

Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Economy.com, said "I think it would be there if it was at reasonable interest rate and on reasonable terms and if business is given the opportunity to borrow they would."

No word yet on which struggling banks the government will help.

Some governors have said they don't want the stimulus money. President Obama told them today it's time to stop playing politics, get over minor disagreements, and spend that money wisely.

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