With President-elect Barack Obama's team scrambling to shape a massive new economic stimulus package, Vice President-elect Joe Biden on Tuesday ruled out pet projects and special interest spending.
"It's important for the American taxpayer to know that this is not going to be politics as usual and we will not tolerate business as usual in Washington," Biden said at the start of a meeting at transition headquarters of Obama's top economic staff.
"I know it's Christmas, and I know it's the Christmas season," he said, "but President-elect Obama and I are absolutely, absolutely determined that this economic recovery plan will not become a Christmas tree."
Biden said "there will be no earmarks" in the proposal—referring to the sort of special-interest projects that members of Congress often attach to various pieces of legislation.
The goal had been for the incoming White House and the Democratic-controlled Congress to devise the broad outlines of a plan by Christmas. The negotiators are on a tight schedule, as Obama and congressional leaders want to have lawmakers act on the plan in early January, so that it is ready to be put into place as soon as possible after Obama takes office on Jan. 20.