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Waters on Reviewing the Federal Reserve’s Emergency Lending Powers: We Must Ensure the Fed’s Actions Reach Main Street

Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chairwoman of the House Committee on Financial Services, gave the following statement at a Subcommittee on National Security, International Development and Monetary Policy hybrid hearing, entitled, “Lending in a Crisis: Reviewing the Federal Reserve’s Emergency Lending Powers During the Pandemic and Examining Proposals to Address Future Economic Crises.”

Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, for holding this important hearing.

Testifying before our Committee in February 2020, Chair Powell warned that the Federal Reserve’s ability to help the economy in the next recession would be limited. Remarkably, the pandemic was declared one month later, and the Fed exercised an unprecedented expansion of its tools to support the economy.

I believe the Fed’s actions were helpful in jumpstarting the recovery on Wall Street after a devastating shutdown due to the pandemic, and we had to work very hard with the Fed to talk about extending its support to states, cities, and small businesses. We engaged the Chair on the terms that were offered to both the small businesses and corporations. And so, I spent a considerable amount of time dealing with all of these facilities that were being created, and particularly the Main Street facility, where we engaged, again, Chairman Powell on how he could be more helpful to very small businesses.

So, I look forward to hearing from this panel what worked, what didn’t, and what reforms are needed to make sure the Fed’s actions reach Main Street, and not just Wall Street.

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