by Angelica Leicht | Feb. 14, 2021
Waiting on news about the next stimulus check? Key public figures speak out about the need for more financial support.
The U.S. economy continues to struggle under the weight of the COVID-19 pandemic. Millions of Americans are still out of work due to the economic damage it caused. And several of the safety nets put in place by the last stimulus package are set to end in the near future.
President Joe Biden's proposed $1.9 billion stimulus package is making headway, but there's still a long way to go. Lawmakers haven't yet hammered out what another direct stimulus payment would look like for Americans. That leaves unanswered questions for those with empty bank accounts who are struggling to make ends meet.
As those millions of financially strapped Americans await news on the proposed package and $1,400 direct stimulus checks, key figures -- including new Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen -- are speaking out about the need for more fiscal support.
Treasury Secretary Yellen participated virtually in her first G7 meeting on Friday. She emphasized the economic need to provide further financial support. Yellen told G7 finance ministers and central bank governors that "the time to go big is now" to promote a robust and lasting recovery.
Yellen stressed to the group that they -- along with international financial institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank -- should focus on how to provide support right now.
The G7 is composed of government leaders from the world's top industrial economies: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The group came together Friday to discuss a possible expansion in the IMF's lending capabilities. This could help less wealthy countries grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Other issues on the agenda included digital taxation and climate change. As Treasury Secretary, Yellen is responsible for detecting and mitigating potential risks to the financial system, including pandemic- and climate-related threats.
This is not the first time Yellen has spoken out about the need for more financial support. Late last week, Yellen noted that Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 rescue package is key to financial recovery and full employment.
Indeed, she stressed the importance of stimulus during her confirmation hearing. "Right now, short-term, I feel that we can afford what it takes to get the economy back on its feet to get us through the pandemic and to relieve the burdens that it's placing on households and small businesses," she said.
The Treasury Secretary warned that additional stimulus is necessary to prevent "scarring" of the economy.
There has been plenty of support for more fiscal stimulus money in recent months. Treasury Secretary Yellen is just the latest public figure to stress the need for more money to combat the economic damage done by the pandemic.
There's a lot riding on a quick passage of additional stimulus. Expanded unemployment benefits are set to expire in the next couple of months, which could leave millions of Americans out of work and out of money. With no firm date on the next stimulus check, it is extremely important for lawmakers to work quickly to infuse the economy and Americans with desperately needed cash.
The House Ways and Means Committee approved measures on Thursday that included money earmarked for the $1,400 stimulus payments. But those measures could take time to reach the president's desk. A House vote on the package is expected sometime during the week of Feb. 22.
If the relief package is signed into law, the good news is that the IRS says it will be able to issue the stimulus payments as quickly as possible. Biden's COVID-19 package won't solve the issues in less wealthy countries. But it should help ease the burden faced by millions of Americans right now.
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