Biden Treasury pick Janet Yellen says additional stimulus and expanded unemployment insurance will provide the 'biggest bang for the buck'
Janet Yellen speaks in Wilmington, Delaware on December 1, 2020. Leah Millis / Reuters
Joe Biden's Treasury Department election Janet Yellen faced lawmakers in a confirmation hearing in the US Senate on Tuesday.
The former Fed chairman said additional incentives and expanded old-age insurance would have the biggest impact in the short term.
"They will create jobs across the economy," Yellen said of her plans to give small businesses more relief.
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The election of President-elect Joe Biden to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says additional incentives for the neediest, coupled with expanded unemployment insurance, will have the greatest economic impact in the short term and give Americans "the biggest bang for the buck".
"I think we are giving those who need help most and small businesses the best opportunity to both provide relief to those hard hit by the pandemic and to spend big money for every dollar spent," Yellen said during their Senate confirmation hearing on Tuesday. "They will create jobs across 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 the Supplemental Nutrition Assistant Program (SNAP), expanded unemployment insurance, and additional incentives and facilities for small businesses would be crucial.
Yellen stressed the extent of the economic and human devastation the virus has inflicted on the US over the past year and warned of yet another recession without a series of fiscal policies to address the problems hit hardest by the pandemic on a daily basis.
"We need to alleviate the suffering this pandemic has caused. We need to look at the companies most at risk," Yellen said. "If we don't do this, suffering and loss of spending will cause other people to lose jobs and get permanent scars, which will hurt the economy in the long run."
Their plans are in line with Biden's $ 1.9 trillion relief proposal, which includes greater benefits for hungry Americans and $ 400 weekly unemployment benefits. Yellen urged the government to "act big" when it comes to creating incentives, along with Biden's $ 1,400 markup on the $ 600 stimulus checks.
As Treasury Secretary, Yellen will play a crucial role in leading the Biden government's negotiations with a divided Congress, as the Democrats will have a very small majority in both houses.
Yellen is demanding that a full Senate vote be installed as secretary, although she is expected to receive simple endorsement. She will be the first woman to head the Treasury Department in the nation's history.
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