McHenry to Secretary Yellen, Chair Powell: Our Economy is Ready to Safely Reopen
March 23, 2021 -
Read Ranking Member McHenry’s opening remarks as prepared for delivery:
“Thank you, Madam Chair, and thank you Secretary Yellen, Chair Powell.
“It’s clear we are in a very different place today than we were last March. Our economy is ready to safely reopen. Economic projections are increasingly positive.
“Despite the facts, Democrats still chose to muscle through their partisan package, only 9% of which goes toward defeating the virus. This package was not targeted to help those most in need, does not get Americans safely back to work, or kids back in classrooms.
“Data has been telling us targeted support is the key to really reaching those groups who need it most.
“And, with the additional $1.9 trillion, there’s been a great deal of discussion surrounding what will or won’t happen with the amount of liquidity in our financial markets.
“So here is what we do know: Taxes, or tax increases, impede growth.
“As we saw in 2008 and 2009, it’s hard to address long term unemployment.
“And we are witnessing the Fed’s balance sheet grow to levels unseen.
“Less than 18 months ago, we experienced what appropriate regulation, lower taxes and innovative solutions can do for an economy. Instead of building on these gains, my colleagues are approaching this crisis like it’s 2009 all over again.
“This is a much different country and a much different economy now. We should remain forward thinking and seek bipartisan solutions that really address the needs of our economy.
“There’s some irony we are here under the guise of CARES oversight when the CARES funding was rescinded in December. I think it would be more productive to discuss the most recent COVID package—and there is a lot to discuss.
“To put this mammoth $1.9 trillion bill into perspective, think about it this way: the Biden Administration is going to spend $3.7 billion on average per day for every day remaining in 2021. That equals $43,000 every second.
“A lot of that money will flow directly from Treasury to states and cities, which introduces a whole new set of challenges with respect to preventing waste and fraud. And unlike the bipartisan CARES Act, this bill does not contain any new layers of oversight to address those challenges.
“Secretary Yellen, at our first CARES quarterly hearing in June 2020, we had a chance to run through our expectations with respect to transparency with your predecessor.
“At that hearing, Secretary Mnuchin committed to provide key program data to congressional committees to assist our oversight responsibilities, and he followed through on that commitment.
“Secretary Mnuchin also committed to working with the various oversight bodies with jurisdiction under the CARES Act, including the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee, the Congressional Oversight Commission, three Department IGs, and the Government Accountability Office.
“Now we have an additional $1.9 trillion to track.
“So, what I would like from you here today is your commitment to continue the practice of your predecessor to cooperate with our committee, both Democrats and Republicans, to ensure appropriate oversight.
“And so, I want to thank you for the testimony today and I look forward to the discussion.
“I yield back.”
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