Local Politics

Biden visits N.C. to talk stimulus

Posted April 1, 2009

— Vice President Joe Biden visited Duplin and Wayne counties Wednesday to demonstrate how the federal economic stimulus package is benefiting rural America.

"The (stimulus) is touching every corner of America, from Main Streets to cul-de-sacs to county roads," Biden said in a visit to the Pleasant Grove Volunteer Fire Station in Pikeville, which will receive about $100,000 in stimulus money to build a larger firehouse to serve the community better.

"This is about more than just recovery its about making sure we've built up a firm foundation," he said.

Joe Biden at Pikeville firehouse Biden: Housing money will stabilize small towns

The new firehouse will put people to work in Pikeville, generating some economic momentum for Wayne County, he said.

"We have to be here 24/7 whether there is a good economy or a bad economy," Pleasant Grove Fire Chief Wesley Wooten said.

Biden, who is overseeing implementation of the $787 billion stimulus program, and U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack also announced that the government has started disbursing the first wave of $10 billion in guaranteed housing loans under the stimulus, including $322 million for North Carolina.

"The funds released today will immediately create job opportunities and make the dream of home ownership a reality for thousands of people in rural America," Vilsack said.

Stimulus money will initially provide 15,000 rural families with $1.76 billion in loan guarantees for home financing, officials said, creating or saving about 7,500 jobs. The stimulus has earmarked $7 billion for rural housing support, plus an extra $3 billion for high-need areas, and officials estimated that 42,500 jobs would be created or saved once all of the money has been disbursed.

Earlier Wednesday, Biden and Vilsack visited Goshen Medical Center in Faison, which will receive $635,876 in stimulus money.

Biden in Faison Biden: Rural health clinics provide model for U.S.

Officials said the money would allow the clinic to hire two more physicians, two more nurses and three administrative staffers. The extra staff will help the clinic care for an extra 4,800 patients, including 1,500 who have no health insurance, officials said.

Goshen Medical Center served more than 45,000 patients last year, including a third who lived in poverty and 67 percent who either had no insurance or were covered by Medicare or Medicaid.

"All of you are creating a better reality for the people of eastern North Carolina," Biden told clinic workers and others. "It's essential that small towns, rural towns be healthy and growing."

Health clinics, which treat more than 16 million people nationwide, will provide a model for delivering care accurately and efficiently that the rest of the nation can copy, Biden said. Most of the patients have a personal relationship with a clinic physician, he said, which leads to better health outcomes.

"These centers are ... on the front lines of rebuilding a health care system most of us think is broken," he said.

The money for the Faison clinic is part of nearly $8.6 million that will be distributed to 27 clinics statewide. Officials said investing in the clinics should help stabilize rural communities, especially with large numbers of people being laid off and finding themselves without health insurance.

"Ensuring that people have access to care gives them the opportunity to be healthy as they look for employment, and it helps their children be able to receive the care they need to be successful in school," said Benjamin Money, chief executive of the North Carolina Community Health Center Association.

Biden also noted that tax cuts in the stimulus package took effect Wednesday. Individuals making less than $75,000 a year should see an extra $10 to $15 in take-home pay, while married couples making less than $150,000 should see up to $20.

WRAL reporter Mike Charbonneau Twittered from the vice presidential press pool.  Follow Mike to get an idea of his day.


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  • Over Taxed In NC Apr 2, 2009

    I would not walk out of my house to see him or obama. If they landed in my driveway.

  • southerngirlie Apr 2, 2009

    This "stimulus" money for Goshen Medical hires a couple of doctors, a couple of nurses and some adm. staff. How is that going to help people in the area GET A JOB.........???? For all that money being spent there..$600,000+K. It' not. It's all about Universal Health Care, Not about stimulating the economy and job creation.

  • tgw Apr 2, 2009

    Drudge Report is stating that the funding for the firehouse was passed under the Bush Administration, not the porkulus bill.
    It further states that certain"good" projects are being transfewred to porkulus to make President Obama look good.

    Makes sense-cause he sure does not look very good right now.
    Matter of fact, he looks pretty darned incompetant to me. But
    that does not matter to libs. They could be happy with a dog catcher as long as he was a Democrat.

    It's tea party time!!!!!!!

  • amyrn Apr 2, 2009

    As far as Goshen Medical is concerned, I used one of their offices as my primary provider prior to that office being purchased by Goshen. I don't use them any more. I can't get in to see a physician and contrary to what someone else posted, there are quite a few hispanic people receiving services in that one. I know some of the people working in that office and those folks will tell you that much of their clientale is now medicaid and a lot of those clients are hispanice. I pay a co-pay for everything while many people don't pay anything. Goshen is almost a monopoly in the Dupln County area when it comes to physicians.

  • MarcoPolo Apr 1, 2009

    Raleigh Tea Party on 4/15. www.raleighteaparty.com
    Make a difference- show up!

    We have got to change the way business is being done in dc.

  • affirmativediversity Apr 1, 2009

    I wonder why Biden isn't visiting Hoke County and Raeford to talk up the "DOG" they're buying with their "Stimulus" money?

    I'm not kidding..."A DOG"

  • dogeatdog Apr 1, 2009

    Obama and Biden have respect for others; something we haven't seen on the past 8 years.

    Are you really ignorant enough to think Obama and Biden care about anybody except Obama and Biden? All this administration is doing in increasing the speed at which the government will run every aspect of our lives.

  • Drakula_I_G Apr 1, 2009

    Look, wildervb, the bottom line is, the Dems had control of Congress for the past two years of the Bush admin, they warned about Fannie and Freddie, and they ignored it. You can spin it any way you want, but these are facts.

  • wildervb Apr 1, 2009

    "You mean the testimony and transcripts that are available on C-Span? There were warnings about this back to 1999. I will grant you there is enough blame to go around however Dodd and Frank are the chairmen of the committees that regulate these industries and they failed to act when the warning bells were sounded. Now they are shirking their responsibility and blaming everything on Bush."

    Phil Gramm was head of the Banking committee back in 1999. Richard Shelby, another Republican headed the committee from 2003 - 2007 when most of the bad loans were being written, laying the foundation of the crisis. I agree, there is blame to go around, but this myth that somehow the Republican party was powerless while Dodd and Barney Frank dictated policy is laughable at best.

  • wildervb Apr 1, 2009

    "And by the way, the financial meltdown was largely due to the home mortgage crisis - sorry, no cigar."

    The home mortgage crisis was created by the banks underwriting very risky loans. These loans were re-packaged and sold to other financial institutions and investors. They were rated triple A, but in fact were very risky. These transactions were completely unregulated over the last 8 years.

    Educate yourself on CDO's = Collateralized Debt Obligations and CDS's Credit default Swaps. These were completely unregulated thanks to Phil Gramm's banking deregulation bill. It's probably something that's a bit to complicated for Rush, who never finished college to understand.