Financial officials in Trump administration defend reopening economy, some members of Congress disagree

U.S. & World

WASHINGTON D.C. (WCMH) — At a Senate banking hearing Tuesday, federal financial officials told senators if it weren’t for the government’s swift actions, the economic pain from the pandemic would already be much worse. But some lawmakers say too little has been done.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell both defended the government’s efforts to keep the economy afloat.

“As policy makers, we should continue to do what we can to help cushion the blow,” Powell said.

But Ohio Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown says the people who need the most help, like grocery and healthcare workers, still aren’t getting it.

“If Congress does not act now to put money in the hands of people, we risk making the economic crisis worse,” Brown said.

Mnuchin acknowledged the economic pain isn’t letting up and defended President Trump’s push to reopen the economy.

“In the second quarter of this year, we are continuing to see large unemployment and other negative indicators,” Mnuchin said. “This is why it is so important to start bringing people back to work in a safe way.”

But Brown accused the Trump administration of not doing enough to protect the very workers they’re pushing to get back on the job.

“How many workers should give their lives to increase the GDP [gross domestic product] or DOW Jones by 1000 points?” Brown asked.

Powell also outlined efforts the Federal Reserve is making to contain the economic fallout and promised to do more.

“The Federal Reserve is committed to using our full range of tools to support the economy in this challenging time,” Powell said.

Powell and Mnuchin will face the Senate again as the CARES Act mandates both men update Congress each quarter.

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