Yellen Is Yellin' For More Free Stuff

Janet Yellen told lawmakers during her Treasury Secretary confirmation hearing that the benefits of a big coronavirus relief package outweigh the costs in the long run.

Need to Act Big

Yellen seeks a Sweeping Stimulus Package in Face of GOP Skepticism at her confirmation hearing.

“We need to make sure that people aren’t going hungry in America, that they can put food on the table, that they’re 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 shouldn't compromise on it.”  

If she is confirmed by the Senate as expected, Ms. Yellen will become the administration’s top economic-policy spokesperson responsible for selling President-elect Joe Biden’s $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.  

“It’s really critically important to provide this relief now,” she told lawmakers on the Senate Finance Committee, which will vote on her nomination.

Republican Skepticism 

  • “The only organizing principle that I can discern is it seems to spend as much money as possible, seemingly for the sake of spending it,” Sen. Pat Toomey (R., Pa.) said of Biden's latest plan.
  • Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley of Iowa noted a “laundry list of liberal structural economic reforms” in Mr. Biden’s relief package including a $15 minimum wage.
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