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Yellen: Next COVID Relief Package Benefits ‘Outweigh The Costs’

Janet Yellen, who has been nominated by incoming President-elect Joe Biden to head up the Treasury Department, thinks the government should “act big” for its next COVID-19 relief package, Reuters writes.

Biden recently rolled out his $1.9 trillion relief plan, including more direct payments for Americans, enhanced unemployment assistance and more money for vaccine distribution, among other things. His plan includes $1,400 direct payments to Americans and $400 a week for unemployment, up from $300.

“Neither the president-elect, nor I, propose this relief package without an appreciation for the country’s debt burden. But right now, with interest rates at historic lows, the smartest thing we can do is act big,” Yellen, a former Federal Reserve chair, said in a prepared opening statement for her hearing before the committee, according to Reuters.

She added that the “benefits will far outweigh the costs” in her opinion, “especially if we care about helping people who have been struggling for a very long time.”

In the testimony, Yellen also plans to say that the economy needs to be rebuilt in a fashion to encourage better options for people and put the U.S. in a position to better compete in the global economy.

If confirmed by the Senate, Yellen will replace outgoing Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Reuters writes. She’s not likely to be one of the more controversial picks in the Biden administration, though she could face questions over Biden’s tax and spending proposals.

Yellen, a former Fed chair, will be tasked with helping rejuvenate a pandemic-ridden economy, according to PYMNTS, including monetary policy that could fluctuate based on how people spend or do not spend.

Yellen was Fed chair from 2014 to 2018, and in 2018, she said she was worried about the deterioration in lending standards, which she said were potentially damaging, adding that she thought some were forgetting about the 2008 financial crisis.

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