Continuing Job Losses Put Spotlight on Economic Relief

on Jan22
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Mr. Biden has proposed a $1.9 trillion stimulus package that would include $1,400 in direct payments to individuals, expanded unemployment benefits and money for hard-pressed states and cities.

In written testimony released Thursday as part of her Senate confirmation process, Janet L. Yellen, Mr. Biden’s nominee for Treasury secretary, reiterated the urgency of renewed aid.

“Unemployment remains troublingly high, and millions of families are facing hunger or the risk of eviction,” Ms. Yellen, a former Federal Reserve chair, told a questioner. “Additional relief is needed to strengthen the economy, address our public health challenge and provide relief to communities that have been hardest hit.”

Republicans have already registered resistance to another big spending plan.

“We’re looking at another spending blowout,” Senator Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania said at Ms. Yellen’s confirmation hearing on Tuesday. “The only organizing principle I can understand, it seems, is to spend as much money as possible, seemingly for the sake of spending it.”

Democrats hope to push a coronavirus relief package through Congress in the coming weeks, with House Democrats postponing votes until the beginning of February as committees work to translate Mr. Biden’s coronavirus plan into legislation.

“We’ll be doing our committee work all next week so that we are completely ready to go to the floor when we come back,” the House speaker, Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, said at her weekly news conference on Thursday.

But with Ms. Pelosi yet to send the House’s article of impeachment against former President Donald J. Trump to the Senate, and with Senate leaders at odds over the terms of how to organize an evenly split chamber, it is unclear how quickly legislation can be processed. Democrats are also leaving open the possibility of using a process called budget reconciliation, requiring only a simple majority for approval, to push legislation through the Senate.

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