US Treasury Secretary denies pushing to cut Covid-19 aid package

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The Secretary of the Treasury of the United States, Janet Yellenassured this Saturday that he never pressed for a $1.9 trillion bailout cut by President Joe Biden, refuting a media report that quoted a biographer as saying she favored cutting it to avoid inflation.

β€œI never pushed for the adoption of a smaller American Rescue Plan (ARP) package, and I think the ARP played a central role in driving strong growth throughout 2021 and after,” Yellen said in a rare response to a media report.

The White House issued a statement of its own, arguing that the ARP helped engineer a strong US recovery and that the increase in food and energy prices was not the result of the stimulus package.

Yellen is expected to face hard questions about inflation during two congressional hearings next week.

Photo: Reuters

Lawmakers are also likely to question him about his admission last week that was β€œwrong” in the past about the path inflation would take, citing unexpected shocks such as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and China’s Covid-19 lockdowns.

On Friday, Bloomberg quoted a preview of a biography about Yellen, written by journalist Owen Ullmannwho says his concern about inflation was the reason he lobbied authorities – unsuccessfully – to cut the size of the stimulus package by a third before Congress approved the program.

The book will be published September 27th.

Congress approved the ARP and it became law a year ago, which meant a landmark achievement of Biden’s first year in office.

In her statement on Saturday, Yellen said that high inflation was now the top economic priority of the Biden administration

β€œWe are committed to tackling it (inflation) respecting the independence of the Federal Reserve and giving him the space to act,” Yellen said Saturday.

With information from Reuters

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