WASHINGTON—Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen defended the size of the administration’s $1.9 trillion relief package, saying in an interview with CNBC on
WASHINGTON—Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen defended the size of the administration’s $1.9 trillion relief package, saying in an interview with CNBC on Thursday that she hopes the measure will be enacted in coming weeks.
“We are digging out of a deep hole,” Ms. Yellen said of the economic slump induced by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We think it’s very important to have a big package that addresses the pain this has caused,” she said.
The jobless rate in January was 6.3%, almost double the rate before the pandemic struck early last year. Ms. Yellen said the true jobless rate was closer to 10% because millions of people who have dropped out of the labor force aren’t officially counted as unemployed. The Congressional Budget Office projected last week that it would take until 2024 for the labor market to return to its pre-pandemic level without additional federal aid.
Ms. Yellen said President Biden would like to see the relief measure pass with bipartisan support. Republicans and some economists have questioned whether the proposal, which would include $1,400 stimulus checks for many Americans, provide extended unemployment insurance and deliver aid for state and local governments, would give more support than the economy needs.