Press Releases

McHenry: Treasury and Fed Prevented the Worst of This Economic Crisis and Saved Millions of Jobs

Washington, December 2, 2020 -

Today, the House Financial Services Committee is holding a hearing with Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. This is the third quarterly hearing on the implementation of the CARES Act and the federal government’s response to the economic crisis caused by COVID-19.

Watch Ranking Member Patrick McHenry’s (NC-10) opening remarks here.

Read Ranking Member McHenry’s opening remarks as delivered:

“Thank you, Madam Chair. And look, I know there’s been a lot of partisan talk by my colleagues on the Democrat side of the aisle, attacking the actions of the Treasury Secretary, and even the Federal Reserve. And I know Committee Democrats, and a lot of Democrats in Congress, said they wouldn’t go home until they had a deal, and then they went home for 10 days.

“So, there’s not a whole lot of believability coming from our fellow politicians here on Capitol Hill right now. It’s quite frustrating.

“But, Chairman Powell, Secretary Mnuchin, I want to thank you for being with us today and being so available. I also want to commend you for the quick and decisive work you both have taken, and I think that is something we should commend you for. 

“But today, I think there is also a reason for optimism. 

“The Coronavirus vaccines are moving at an unprecedented pace. Last month, Pfizer announced its vaccine is 95% effective, and they are currently seeking regulatory clearance. Moderna announced on Monday that its vaccine is 94.1% effective and will also seek regulatory clearance. The British announced today that they’re moving forward as well with their vaccine distribution.

“This is proof that public-private partnerships, like those in Operation Warp Speed, can lead to phenomenal successes in record time.

“But we know a full economic recovery will occur only when Americans can go back to work safely, send their kids back to school confidently, and have easy access to testing and treatment. There’s still more work to be done.

“I do want to go back to our committee jurisdiction: The Treasury and the Fed’s decisive actions back in March and April to prevent the worst of this economic crisis and saving millions of jobs.

“Chairman Powell, the Federal Reserve’s emergency lending facilities continue to serve as a strong backstop to our financial market and prevent disorder in the financial markets from impacting our real economy. 

“Those programs stipulated billions of dollars of private sector lending and successfully operated as lender of last resort. And now, they acted as that necessary source of liquidity in those urgent times earlier this year. They ensured the orderly flow of credit, and the functioning of markets of all sizes, including supporting workers and communities across the country. So, I want to commend you for that.

“But they are emergency facilities only, and they’re backstops designed to support the functioning of the private markets, and they are intended to be a lender of last resort, not to replace private markets. 

“And from the start I’ve said that we need to be forward thinking and have a plan to wind-down these firefighting measures when appropriate. And so, I want to thank both the Fed, and Treasury, for having a plan to wind those measures down appropriately as accordance to the CARES Act law.

“And I also know, and I will ask you specifically about this, about the additional capacities that you will have with the CARES Act expiring on December 31st.

“Additionally, Secretary Mnuchin, thank you for your quick work on the Paycheck Protection Program, which supported millions of small businesses. And I know we still need additional relief for more small businesses in different segments, and thank you for continuing to work for a bipartisan agreement here on Capitol Hill, and to not play the gamesmanship and partisan games that have bedeviled these talks in the last couple of months. Thank you for rising above that. 

“But there is still work to be done.

“I look forward to us coming together and having a package that can support small businesses and do the responsible things necessary to help rebuild our economy and to protect American citizens’ lives.

“Thanks so much for being here today, and I look forward to your testimony. 

“I yield back.”

Watch the virtual hearing here.

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