Biden treasury pick Janet Yellen says urgent action needed to prevent self-reinforcing US economic downturn

Janet Yellen speaks at Joe Biden's transition headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware, on Dec 1, 2020. PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - US President-elect Joe Biden's treasury secretary nominee Janet Yellen said on Tuesday (Dec 1) the country is facing a historic crisis from the pandemic and the subsequent economic fallout.

"It's an American tragedy and it's essential that we move with urgency. Inaction will produce a self-reinforcing downturn, causing yet more devastation," Yellen said.

Yellen spoke at an event where Biden formally introduced his top economic policy advisers as his administration prepares to take power amid a slowing economic recovery hampered by the resurgent pandemic.

Yellen, who previously served as US Federal Reserve chairman, said the pandemic has disproportionately impacted the most needy and it is essential to move with urgency.

She also said it is key to make sure the economic recovery includes everyone.

Yellen and other advisers have also expressed support for government stimulus to maximise employment, reduce economic inequality and help women and minorities, who have been disproportionately hurt by the economic downturn.

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