Vice President Joe Biden brought a clear message to this tiny Eastern North Carolina town Wednesday: The federal recovery money isn't just for big banks and auto companies.This is what happens when you choose a clown to be your VP.
Biden and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced a new wave of $10.4 billion in federal stimulus money for home loans across the country, and billions more for essential services in rural communities such as Pikeville, which is getting money for a new fire station. Biden used the outdated, current station as a backdrop. Pikeville is just north of Goldsboro in Wayne County.
"We're investing in places like this all across the country," Biden said, "to demonstrate the vital role towns like this play in the recovery."
Most of the money for the station that was announced Wednesday, however, had been secured last year under the Bush administration, according to fire department officials.
State Sen. David Rouzer, a Republican who represents Pikeville and worked in the Agriculture Department under President Bush, said he helped secure the fire department money last year out of the federal agency's regular programs.
"They're coming in and cherry picking the best projects and switching out the money, saying it's stimulus money," Rouzer said. "But it was already approved and in the pipeline. It's totally disingenuous to come down here and say this is stimulus money, when regardless of whether a stimulus bill passed, they were getting the money."