- Joe Biden’s Treasury pick Janet Yellen faced lawmakers at a confirmation hearing in the US Senate Tuesday.
- The former Fed chair said additional stimulus and expanded retirement insurance will have the biggest impact in the immediate term.
- “They’ll create jobs throughout the economy,” Yellen said of her plans to provide more relief for small businesses.
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President-elect Joe Biden’s pick for Treasury Secretary, Janet Yellen, says additional stimulus relief for those most in need coupled with expanded unemployment insurance will have the biggest economic impact in the immediate term, giving Americans “the biggest bang for the buck.”
“I think relief that we provide to those who are in the greatest need and to small businesses have the best chance of providing both relief to those who’ve been so badly affected by the pandemic and creating a great deal of spending per dollar spent,” Yellen said during her Senate confirmation hearing Tuesday. “They’ll create jobs throughout the economy.”
Yellen, who chaired the Federal Reserve from 2014 to 2018, said targeting relief for those most in need during the pandemic could help the economy recover in the short term. Among her plans she said additional funding for Supplemental Nutrition Assistant Program (SNAP), extended unemployment insurance, as well as additional stimulus, and relief for small businesses would be key.
Yellen emphasized the extent of the economic and human devastation the virus has inflicted on the US over the past year and warned of another recession without a set of fiscal policies to address the issues those most impacted by the pandemic face everyday.
“We have to relieve the suffering that this pandemic has caused. We need to look at the businesses most at risk,” Yellen said. “If we don’t do so, that suffering and the loss of spending will cause other people to lose jobs and permanent scarring, that will harm the economy over the longer term.”
Her plans align with Biden’s $1.9 trillion relief proposal, which calls for bigger benefits for Americans struggling with hunger and $400 weekly federal unemployment benefits. Yellen called for the government to “act big” when it comes to providing stimulus, going along with Biden’s $1,400 boost to the $600 stimulus checks.
As treasury secretary, Yellen will play a crucial role in guiding the Biden administration’s negotiations with a divided Congress, as Democrats will have very slim majorities in both chambers.
Yellen requires a full Senate vote to be installed as secretary, though she is expected to win an easy confirmation. She will be the first woman to lead the Treasury in the nation’s history.