Former Federal Reserve chairs Ben Bernanke and Janet Yellen urged lawmakers not to let enhanced unemployment benefits expire this month and to set aside deficit concerns for now to deliver the stimulus the economy needs in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. “We do not believe that concerns about the deficit and debt should prevent Congress from responding robustly to this emergency,” Yellen told lawmakers Friday.
The Hill’s Sylvan Lane reports:
“In testimony before the special House coronavirus subcommittee, the two most recent former Fed chiefs warned lawmakers that the U.S. could face deep, permanent economic damage without more than $1 trillion in further stimulus. … Bernanke — a former Republican who disavowed the party in 2015 — and Yellen, a Democrat, said the next congressional stimulus measure should focus on three areas: investing in the medical response to the pandemic, extending enhanced unemployment benefits, and giving local governments enough financial support to sustain crucial services amid steep revenue shortfalls.”
In a New York Times op-ed earlier this week, Bernanke urged lawmakers to provide more aid to states to avoid a prolonged economic downturn.