Recently, the Biden administration’s Treasury Secretary, Janet Yellen, informed numerous American mayors that the White House’s COVID relief package apparently functioned as a “vaccine” for the economy, ostensibly via the prevention of a massive recession or other economic damage that may have crippled the nation’s economy once again.
The $1.9T American Rescue Plan allegedly “acted like a vaccine for the American economy, protecting our recovery from the possibility of new variants,” according to Yellen, who made an appearance at the 90th winter meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors in downtown Washington, D.C.
“The protection wasn’t complete, but it was very strong … It prevented communities from suffering the most severe economic effects of omicron and delta,” Yellen continued.
Over the course of her presentation, Yellen highlighted the role that the Treasury Department played in implementing the American Rescue Plan, including the distribution of $350B to local and state fiscal recovery funds. These funds have provided direct financial assistance to local jurisdictions and states over the course of the pandemic.
The winter conference was spearheaded by the Mayor of Miami, Francis X. Suarez, who is focused intensely on federal resources for reducing gun violence, addressing homelessness, providing equitable pandemic relief efforts, and fighting climate change, amongst varied other issues.
Since January 6, Yellen’s department has distributed over $245B to various localities for expanded access to vaccines and COVID tests, as well as to support hiring within the public sector in order to increase the provision of childcare, alongside other projects.
In addition, the Treasury Department has also broadened the scope of eligibility for projects that may be able to obtain funding.
“I think we all believed that state and local funding was important, that it was essential,” Yellen proclaimed, “[however], that program in particular … proved absolutely essential.”
Per the Treasury Secretary, it is possible to “draw a straight line between the [American Rescue Plan’s] passage” and the nation’s “economic performance during delta and omicron.”