Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Sunday said the U.S. could see full employment by next year if Congress passes President Joe Biden’s proposed $1.9 trillion stimulus package, which many Republicans have dismissed as wasteful.
“If we don’t provide additional support, the unemployment rate is going to stay elevated for years to come,” Yellen said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “It would take until 2025 in order to get the unemployment rate down to 4% again. We would have a long, slow recovery like we did after the financial crisis.”
Yellen cited two recent analyses by Moody’s Analytics and the Brookings Institution, which both forecast the economy returning or nearly returning to pre-pandemic levels by next year, if Biden’s plan is enacted.
“Without additional fiscal support, we project that real [gross domestic product] would remain below the pre-pandemic level for the next several years,” the Brookings report said. “More broadly, millions of households will suffer as a result of waning fiscal support for the unemployed and households and businesses suffering financially.”
“There is absolutely no reason why we should suffer through a long, slow recovery,” Yellen said on Sunday.
Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey joined the chorus of Republicans opposing the current stimulus proposal, declaring it too expensive and “inappropriate” in a separate interview with CNN on Sunday.
“The economy has come roaring back. The unemployment is less than half of what it was. Disposable income is at record high levels,” Toomey said. “It’s not an economy in collapse, like it was in March.”
Toomey suggested that he would consider relief for concentrated groups, such as those in the travel, entertainment and food industries. “If those folks have fallen through the cracks of the trillions of dollars that we’ve already spent, that’s been meant to help them, then let’s have a conversation about how to help those folks.”
Last week, several other Republicans met with Biden to propose a smaller stimulus package, though the president later indicated that he was not swayed by their arguments.
“We can’t do too much here. We can do too little. We can do too little and sputter,” he said on Friday.
A blueprint of Biden’s relief package, titled the American Rescue Plan, was approved by House Democrats on Friday — an unanimously opposed by Republicans ― and is set to undergo revisions this week.
Biden has said that he will insist that the next round of stimulus checks be no less than $1,400. However, who exactly will receive those checks remains up in the air.
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