Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says Americans can expect a ‘big return’ from Biden’s $4.1 trillion spending proposal

Treasury secretary Janet Yellen pushed for stimulus checks

  • President Biden’s spending plans can offer a “big return,” Tres. Sec. Janet Yellen said Sunday.
  • The measures should be paid for while interest rates sit at historic lows, she added.
  • If inflation rises more than expected, the government “has the tools to address it,” Yellen said.
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Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen reiterated her support for President Joe Biden’s spending plans on Sunday, pitching the measures as strong investments in the country’s future.

The president on Wednesday rolled out a $1.8 trillion spending proposal that includes funding for paid family and medical leave, universal pre-K, and childcare. The measure follows the March passage of Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package and joins the president’s $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan as his latest step in big-government economic policy.

Republicans and some moderate Democrats have balked at the follow-up plans cost, saying the measures would dangerously inflate the government’s debt pile. Yellen countered on NBC’s “Meet The Press,” saying it’s a better time than ever to spend on such projects.

“We’re in a good fiscal position. Interest rates are historically low… and it’s likely they’ll stay that way into the future,” the Treasury Secretary said. “I believe that we should pay for these historic investments. There will be a big return.”

That’s not to say the government shouldn’t offset the multitrillion-dollar price tag. The Biden administration rolled out a handful of tax hikes and stronger enforcement to cover the spending, but those proposals were swiftly rejected by Republicans. The GOP has criticized Biden’s public-works plan and a proposed corporate tax increase, calling it a “slush-fund” and a “Trojan horse” for Democratic priorities.

The economy is poised to rebound from the coronavirus pandemic throughout 2021 and, in turn, bring in greater tax revenues. That stronger growth justifies some spending, but the safest and most sustainable way to spend on infrastructure and care involves equitable tax increases, Yellen said.

Stricter tax compliance would also play a critical role. The country is currently estimated to lose $7 trillion through tax underpayment over the next decade. Stepping up compliance efforts and adequately funding the IRS can also boost tax collection, Yellen added.

The Treasury Secretary also rebuffed concerns of the massive spending fueling a sharp rise in inflation.

Administration officials and the Federal Reserve already anticipates the latest stimulus and economic reopening to drive a sharp but temporary bout of stronger inflation. While Biden’s latest proposals are far larger than the March stimulus, plans to spend them over eight to 10 years cuts down on the risk of rampant inflation, Yellen said.

“I don’t believe that inflation will be an issue, but if it becomes an issue, we have tools to address it,” she added. “These are historic investments that we need to make our economy productive and fair.”

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Boehner said the Capitol riot was ‘one of the saddest days’ of his life and he would rather set himself ‘on fire than run for office again’

john boehner
Former House Speaker John Boehner attends a ceremony to unveil a portrait of himself on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019 in Washington.

  • Former House Speaker John Boehner dismissed the idea of running for office in the future.
  • “I’d rather set myself on fire than to run for office again,” Hoehner said on “Meet the Press” Sunday.
  • Boehner also recalled the Jan. 6 insurrection calling it “one of the saddest days in my life.”
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Former Republican US House Speaker John Boehner said he would rather set himself on fire than run for office again in an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday.

“I’d rather set myself on fire than to run for office again,” Boehner of Ohio replied to show moderator Chuck Todd.

In response, Todd said that he asked Boehner that question “because I expected an answer just like that.”

“You’re a sh-t,” Boehner chuckled.

Boehner, who was speaker between 2011 and 2015, has been promoting his new book “On The House: A Washington Memoir.” After an excerpt was published by Politico, it was met with backlash from Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who was called a “reckless asshole” in the book, as Insider previously reported.

Boehner, who voted for former President Donald Trump for re-election in 2020, said he was “disappointed” with what followed. Trump repeatedly pushed baseless claims that the presidential election was rigged and that he won over President Joe Biden, ultimately resulting in an angry mob storming the US Capitol building.

“I was disappointed at what happened after the election. I kept looking for evidence of a stolen election like most Americans did. Where’s the evidence? How can he keep saying something without providing any proof? And there wasn’t any,” Boehner said on “Meet the Press,” calling the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection “one of the saddest days in my life.”

When asked by Todd about Trump, Boehner added that he has “no interest” in the former president’s actions.

“I’m trying to make sure that Republicans understand as a Republican party we need to go back to the principles of what it means to be Republican. Things like fiscal responsibility, things like a strong national defense, things that hold Republicans and the Republican party together and have for the 150 years. Let’s go back to being Republicans,” he said.

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Fauci says a COVID-19 booster shot is a ‘public health decision’ and not up to companies like Pfizer and Moderna

Anthony Fauci
Fauci said Sunday that a decision on booster shots could be made by the end of the summer.

  • Dr. Anthony Fauci said Sunday that a COVID-19 booster shot could be necessary for the future.
  • Pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Moderna have said a third shot may be necessary.
  • Fauci said that decision would be made by public health officials and not pharmaceutical companies.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the longtime director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Sunday that the decision about whether a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot would be needed would be made by public health officials and not by pharmaceutical companies.

During an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, Fauci, the chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden, said that people wary of claims from Pfizer and Moderna that a booster shot of their COVID-19 vaccines could be assured that the decision wasn’t up to them.

“It is going to be a public health decision,” Fauci told “Meet the Press” moderator Chuck Todd. “It is not going to be a decision that is made by a pharmaceutical company. We’re partners with them because they’re supplying it. It’ll be an FDA/CDC decision. The CDC will use their advisory committee and immunization practices the way they always do.

Albert Bourla, the CEO of Pfizer, said earlier in April that people will likely require booster shots within one year of getting fully vaccinated. During a call with investors last week, Corinne M. Le Goff, Moderna’s chief commercial officer, said that the shift to administering booster shots could begin next year.

Results from Pfizer and Moderna’s clinical trials have indicated that the vaccine maintains efficacy for up to six months, but it’s still not known how long the vaccines will remain effective before another immunization is required.

Boosters may also be administered to target certain variants of COVID-19, like the B.1.351 strain first identified in South Africa, as Insider previously reported.

Fauci said that the CDC will use its advisory committee and the same immunization practices that they always do, which involves officials examining the durability of the vaccine over time by measuring the level of antibodies still present after a period of time.

If the level of antibodies begins to decrease after a certain point, Fauci said that public health experts could project when a booster shot would be required to prevent “breakthrough infections” of COVID-19.

“You might start seeing more breakthrough infections that go beyond the level of the efficacy of the vaccine, and then you might also make a decision to do it,” he said. “But it will be a public health-based decisin, not a pharmaceutical company-based decision.”

Fauci said Sunday he expected that the federal government would be ready to make a decision on whether and when a booster would be necessary by the end of the summer or beginning of the fall this year.

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A Republican strategist says GOP voting reform bills are about ‘providing cotton candy’ to the Trump-obsessed wing of the party

Brian Kemp bill signing
Gov. Brian Kemp signs SB 202 into law at the Georgia state Capitol in Atlanta on March 25, 2021.

  • Al Cárdenas, a Republican strategist, said Republican voting bills are “cotton candy” for the Trump base.
  • Cárdenas, who previously led the organization in charge of CPAC, made the comments on “Meet the Press.”
  • Republicans in several states have launched efforts to overhaul the voting process.
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Al Cárdenas, a longtime Republican strategist who once led the organization that oversees CPAC, said Sunday that GOP bills to curtail voting rights are Republican leaders’ attempt to appeal to the Trump-obsessed wing of the party.

“These 20 some voter reform laws being proposed in all of these states are all about providing cotton candy to the far-right base that believed the Donald Trump big lie about the election being fraudulent,” Cardenas, the leader of the American Conservative Union from 2011 to 2014, said during an appearance on NBC News’ “Meet the Press” on Sunday.

“Most of the voter suppression that takes place is run under the radar of laws and so forth,” he added. He referenced ProPublica data that showed voters in predominantly white areas of Georgia waited to vote eight times less often than voters in communities that were majority Black during the June 2020 primary election.

Cárdenas, now a senior partner at the Ohio-based Squire Patton Boggs law firm, pointed toward the number of polling stations, poll workers, and polling machines as examples of how minority voters can be supressed.

“I agree that we need to have a revamp of the Voting Rights Act,” he said of the landmark 1964 law that was in 2013 gutted by the Supreme Court. “If it was timely in the 60s, it’s even more timely now. But you need to look more at voter suppression at the local level – that’s where it really hits hard.”

Earlier in March, the US House of Representatives passed H.R. 1, dubbed the For the People Act, which includes major voting rights expansions and stricter regulations on campaign spending.

A number of states with Republican leaders at the helm are considering bills to overhaul their voting systems.

The most prominent piece of legislation so far was a controversial bill signed last week into law in Georgia by Republican Gov. Brian Kemp. The bill followed Georgia leaders, including Kemp, repeated rebuke of Trump’s false claims about widespread fraud in the state after his loss there.

The Georgia law introduces a number of changes, including one that makes it illegal to give food or water to people waiting in line to vote and another that limits the number of ballot drop-off boxes allowed.

Florida lawmakers are considering a controversial bill that would ban ballot drop boxes, would require more-frequent requests for mail-in ballots, and would only allow immediate family to handle someone’s ballot, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

Trump for months following last year’s election refused to accept President Joe Biden’s win, repeatedly telling his followers that widespread voter fraud, of which there was no evidence, resulted in his loss. He and lawyers for his campaign lost dozens of lawsuits that attempted to challenge the results.

Trump’s continued claims about the election are widely considered to have led to the incitement of the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol that led to five deaths.

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