WASHINGTONJanet Yellen made the case for another sweeping economic aid package at her hearing to be the next U.S. Treasury secretary Tuesday, pushing back against Republican skepticism of the need for more deficit spending to bolster the recovery.
Ms. Yellen, a former Federal Reserve chairwoman, said the incoming Biden administrations top priority is to relieve suffering caused by the coronavirus pandemic, including providing aid for families, businesses and communities hardest hit by the downturn as well as spending to bring the virus under control.
We need to make sure that people arent going hungry in America, that they can put food on the table, that theyre not losing their homes and ending up out on the street because of evictions, Ms. Yellen said. We really need to address those forms of suffering, and I think we shouldnt compromise on it.
If she is confirmed by the Senate as expected, Ms. Yellen will become the administrations top economic-policy spokesperson responsible for selling President-elect Joe Bidens $1.9 trillion proposal, which includes another round of stimulus payments, extended jobless benefits, grants for small businesses and a nationwide vaccination program. After that, Ms. Yellen said, long-term investments will be needed in areas such as infrastructure and workforce training to help make the U.S. economy more competitive and productive.
Delayed or inadequate support, she warned, could lead to a more-protracted economic recovery and cause long-term economic damage in the form of permanent job losses and business closures that could weigh on growth for years to come.