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Treasury Secretary Yellen Wants To Make Sure 'Americans Don't Suffer Needlessly'

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The new secretary of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Janet Yellen, is speaking out in her first TV interview since taking on the new role.

Yellen, who became the first female U.S. Treasury secretary, spoke with ABC’s Robin Roberts on “Good Morning America” and was asked what her hope is in leaving her mark on the U.S. economy and the country’s history.

After noting she is cautious to “point in our history” when the U.S. is currently facing two crises — the coronavirus pandemic and an economic crisis — Yellen said, “I want to make sure that Americans don’t suffer needlessly, and that we attend to their needs.”

She added, “I think we know what those needs are and we need to act forcefully,” so that Americans “get the help that they need.”

Watch Yellen’s interview below:

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Yellen touched on the coronavirus relief package President Joe Biden is pushing. She said it addresses “a wide range of needs” including the needs of families with children. Additionally, she noted an estimate that the package could reduce child poverty by 50%.

“I want to make sure that this package gets into law and that we build back better and address long-term problems in the labor market and issues of structural racism,” Yellen said. “I would feel if I can make the contribution to that I would feel that that’s a great legacy for me and for the country and for the president.”

As for coronavirus relief, Biden is pushing for a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package to be passed. He met with Republican lawmakers earlier this week and Democratic Congress members on Wednesday.

After meeting with Republicans on Monday, Biden said he “will not slow down work on this urgent crisis response, and will not settle for a package that fails to meet the moment.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) indicated on Wednesday after meeting with Biden that there is “universal agreement we must go big and bold” on COVID-19 relief.

“We hope our Republican colleagues will join us… We want to do it bipartisan, but we must be strong,” he added. “We cannot dawdle, we cannot delay, we cannot dilute.”

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