The US economy is not in a position to end government protection for employee paychecks or help for small businesses and more support might actually be extended, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on Wednesday
WASHINGTON (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 24th March, 2021) The US economy is not in a position to end government protection for employee paychecks or help for small businesses and more support might actually be extended, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on Wednesday.
"The economy is not in a place where small businesses that have been affected are able to thrive," Yellen told the Senate Banking Committee when asked whether the US government could foresee ending the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and grants for small businesses. "As for the PPP, I'm not sure how much money remains in the program but there is some and I would be supportive of an extension."
Yellen's comments came during a second day of testimony by her and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell to brief the US Congress on the Biden administration's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package approved earlier this month.
The package, officially known as the American Rescue Plan, was designed to help immunize the entire US adult population from the coronavirus by July, provide personal aid to individuals and financial grants to US states and businesses and help the unemployed get back to work.
Republicans have repeatedly criticized the $1.9 trillion package as wasteful, saying only 9 percent of the funds are directly related to COVID-19 relief.
The United States lost more than 21 million jobs between March and April, at the height of business lockdowns forced by the coronavirus pandemic measures. About 10 million of those jobs have not returned, according to US government data. The US economy shrank 3.5 percent in 2020, after a 2.2 percent growth in 2019.