Yellen defends COVID rescue funds despite inflation risk

STORY: "When President Biden was inaugurated he inherited an economy with very high unemployment, and the Congressional Budget Office and other forecasters were envisioning that this could last for a very long time. And we had to address the possibility that this be a downturn that could match the Great Recession," Yellen said.

Her comments came in a Senate Finance Committee hearing in response to questions from Republican Senator Steve Daines, who argued the massive government stimulus last year caused the soaring inflation now hitting American consumers at the supermarket and gas station.

Yellen responded that inflation was one of the risks policymakers weighed when crafting the COVID rescue package.

"The overwhelming risk was that Americans would scarred by a deep and long recession and they would lose to roofs over their heads and not be able to feed their families," she said.

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