WASHINGTON (CNN) - "This country is facing an economic recession probably the single most challenging in any our lifetimes." With that, Pennsylvania Democratic Gov. Edward Rendell opened the annual meeting of the National Governors Association Saturday.
Most of the nation's governors are in Washington through Monday for a series of events that include at least two meetings with President Barack Obama.
During an introductory statement, Rendell, who chairs the NGA, touched on the importance of the $787 billion economic stimulus plan signed by President Obama to help states as they cope with the effects of the recession.
"The bill that was passed by both chambers and signed by the President isn't a perfect bill. But it's a bill that is of tremendous help to us," said Rendell.
Programming note: The following governors will appear on "State of the Union with John King" on Sunday: Haley Barbour, R-Mississippi, Deval Patrick, D-Massachusetts, Arnold Schwarzenegger, R-California, Brian Schweitzer, D-Montana.
Vermont Republican Gov. James Douglas, NGA vice chairman, added that each governor who accepts money has a responsibility to use it wisely. "I believe every governor should and will exercise due diligence to make sure that the acceptance of any federal resources is in the best interests of that state and its residents," Douglas said.
Investment in the country's infrastructure was the predominant theme during the opening remarks. Significant investment in health technology, alternative energy and broadband development were also mentioned as ways the United States can get back on steadier economic ground.
Rendell said a joint effort between Capitol Hill and the White House has resulted in a bill that will hopefully help turn around the economy while keeping an eye on tomorrow. "I think the President and Congress should be credited for doing things in this bill to look towards the future," Rendell said.
The nation's governors will have dinner with President Obama and Mrs. Obama Sunday evening at the White House. The governors are also scheduled to meet a final time with the President on Monday before departing for their respective states.