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Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen testify Tuesday before the Senate Banking Committee in required updates regarding Covid-19’s impact on the economy and the respective policy measures taken to combat the pandemic.
In prepared remarks for the hearing, Powell cautioned that the virus, and its most recent omicron variant, could have consequences for growth and inflation.
“The recent rise in COVID-19 cases and the emergence of the Omicron variant pose downside risks to employment and economic activity and increased uncertainty for inflation,” the central bank leader said. “Greater concerns about the virus could reduce people’s willingness to work in person, which would slow progress in the labor market and intensify supply-chain disruptions.”
In her remarks, Yellen expressed confidence in the economy and urged Congress to raise the debt ceiling and support the Biden administration’s Build Back Better agenda.
“Of course, the progress of our economic recovery can’t be separated from our progress against the pandemic, and I know that we’re all following the news about the Omicron variant. As the President said yesterday, we’re still waiting for more data, but what remains true is that our best protection against the virus is the vaccine. People should get vaccinated and boosted,” she said.