Mnuchin and Powell on pandemic progress: US economy is improving, but still fragile

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WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) ─ U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell updated House lawmakers Tuesday on how the CARES Act is impacting the nation’s economic recovery.

Both Powell and Mnuchin said while the economy is improving, it is still fragile.

“The path forward will depend on keeping the virus under control,” Powell said. “A full recovery is likely to come only when people are confident that it is safe to reengage in a broad range of activities.”

Mnuchin said the economy now needs a new targeted COVID-19 relief package to make its way through Congress.

“Economic reopenings combined with the CARES Act have enabled us to have an economic rebound,” Mnuchin explained. “The president and I remain committed to providing support for American workers and businesses.”

But Rep. Jim Himes, D-Connecticut, is concerned about the ongoing government bailouts.

“If we’re going to do it, we should make sure the American public is amply compensated for the use of their money,” Himes said.

Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-North Carolina, called upon lawmakers to come together to boost the recovery.

“What areas of our economy do you see as needing further assistance?” he questioned.

“We still have 11 million people, out of the 22 million who were laid off, in the payroll numbers in March and April,” Powell responded. “Still 11 million out there. That’s really good progress … but that’s a long way to go.”

Powell and Mnuchin both said economic recovery will require the cooperation between all levels of government. They’ll both return to the Capitol to testify before Senate lawmakers later this week.

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