Yellen to urge lawmakers to 'act big' on relief spending

President Joe Biden's plan for the economy includes federal aid to families and businesses suffering from effects of the coronavirus pandemic, raising the minimum wage and reversing some of the Trump administration's tax cuts.

Posted: Feb 17, 2021 6:00 AM
Updated: Feb 17, 2021 6:00 AM

Janet Yellen, President-elect Joe Biden's nominee for Treasury secretary, is expected to urge lawmakers to "act big" on relief spending during her confirmation hearing Tuesday, underscoring the urgency and scope of the incoming administration's $1.9 trillion stimulus package.

"Neither the President-elect, nor I, propose this relief package without an appreciation for the country's debt burden," Yellen will tell lawmakers, according to written testimony obtained by CNN. "But right now, with interest rates at historic lows, the smartest thing we can do is act big."

Biden last week proposed one of the largest relief packages in history in an effort to address the economic and public health crises he will inherit when he takes office on Wednesday.

Lawmakers have already enacted trillions in relief funds under President Donald Trump to address the crisis created by the coronavirus pandemic. But with job losses ticking up and millions still unemployed, Biden and congressional Democrats have made clear their first legislative priority will be a wide-ranging stimulus package.

"The pandemic has caused widespread devastation," Yellen says in her testimony. "The damage has been sweeping, and as the President-elect said last Thursday, our response must be, too."

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