Government shutdown would ‘undermine’ Biden admin’s economic ‘progress’: Yellen
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Friday warned that economic progress could be negatively impacted by a government shutdown through the halting of key programs for small businesses and children.
Yellen, speaking at the Port of Savannah in Georgia, urged Republicans in the House to adhere to a budget deal agreed to in May in order to prevent another shutdown, which would undermine economic progress, Reuters reported.
“The failure of House Republicans to act responsibly would hurt American families and cause economic headwinds that could undermine the progress we’re making,” Yellen said.
The shutdown could begin as soon as Sunday, as the new fiscal year starts without new spending legislation from Congress.
“A shutdown would impact many key government functions from loans to farmers and small businesses, to food and workplace safety inspections, to Head Start programs for children,” Yellen said. “And it could delay major infrastructure improvements.”
Head Start programs, of which many are located in poor communities, serve thousands of children and would immediately lose federal funding if a shutdown occurs. Lawmakers have until Saturday to reach a deal, otherwise the shutdown will commence at 12:01 a.m. ET Sunday.
A last-ditch effort by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-California, to keep the federal government open failed Friday, when some Republicans rejected a proposed package. The bill would’ve kept government operations open through Oct. 31.
On Friday, Lael Brainard, the White House’s top economic adviser, said a government shutdown was an “unnecessary risk” to what he called a resilient economy with moderating inflation.
The looming shutdown comes as Republicans continue to hammer President Biden over inflation, which has reached a four-decade high and can be felt at the grocery store, gas pump and on everyday bills.
Consumer confidence fell again in September as many Americans express concern that the economy could be headed for a recession.
Confidence remains well below a post-pandemic peak of 128.9 in June 2021, according to the Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index, as consumers continue to grapple with high inflation, rising interest rates and recession fears.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.