With interest rates at lows the best course for the U.S. economic policy is to "act big," Janet Yellen, president-elect Joe Biden's pick to run the Treasury Department, will tell Senators Tuesday.
In testimony prepared for delivery to the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday Yellen says she and the president-elect understand the country's debt burden.
"But right now, with interest rates at historic lows, the smartest thing we can do is act big," Yellen said. "I believe the benefits will far outweigh the costs, especially if we care about helping people who have been struggling for a very long time."
"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.
Yellen was the first woman to lead the Federal Reserve. If confirmed by the Senate, she would be the first woman Treasury secretary.
Senator Ron Wyden, a Democrat who is set to take over as chairperson of the Senate Finance Committee soon after Biden and vice president-elect Kamala Harris are sworn in Wednesday, said in a statement that "nobody is better qualified than Secretary-Designate Yellen to lead an economic recovery."
Wyden added that the hearing Tuesday "will provide a great opportunity to hear about what worked and what didn't during the Great Recession, and what we need to do to get this economy back on track."
Yellen will replace Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin if confirmed by the Senate. Mnuchin will step down Wednesday.
Biden has announced a coronavirus relief plan costing $1.9 trillion that includes cash payments to Americans and money for distributing COVID-19 vaccines.
Yellen says: "Without further action, we risk a longer, more painful recession now - and long-term scarring of the economy later."
Once the U.S. overcomes the pandemic Yellen said her second task as Treasury secretary would be to rebuild the economy so it "creates more prosperity for more people." She promised a bipartisan Treasury.