Janet Yellen briefed Biden on economic issues

Getty Images

Former Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen was among those economic experts who briefed presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his newly chosen running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), on Thursday.  

Two of the former vice president’s economic advisers, Jared Bernstein and Heather Boushey, were present at the meeting in Wilmington, Del., along with Harvard University professor Raj Chetty, University of Michigan professor Lisa Cook and Jake Sullivan, a policy adviser to Biden.

Only Bernstein and Boushey are official economic advisers to the Biden-Harris campaign, while others present, including Yellen, were there to brief the candidates, a campaign official told The Hill. 

The news of the briefing comes as the U.S. faces daunting economic challenges due to the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic that has shuttered businesses and resulted in millions of Americans’ unemployment. 

The number of new applicants for unemployment insurance fell below 1 million last week, according to new jobs numbers released on Thursday. Between Aug. 2 and Aug. 8, a seasonally adjusted total of 963,000 Americans filed for unemployment, a difference from the 1.2 million Americans who filed for unemployment the week before. The unemployment rate in the U.S., however, remains at 10.2 percent, slightly worse than the unemployment rate during the Great Recession.  

In July, Yellen, along with former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke urged Congress to continue enhanced unemployment benefits provided to Americans by the March CARES Act. Both Yellen, a Democrat, and Bernanke, a Republican, told members of the House coronavirus subcommittee that without further stimulus, the U.S. could face deep and permanent damage to the economy. 

“We do not believe that concerns about the deficit and debt should prevent Congress from responding robustly to this emergency,” Yellen said at the time. 

“The top priorities at this time should be protecting our citizens from the pandemic and pursuing a stronger and equitable economic recovery,” she added.

Enhanced unemployment benefits have expired amid a stalemate between the White House and congressional Democratic leadership on a deal for a fifth round of coronavirus stimulus legislation. 

President Trump on Saturday issued executive orders that would in part extend the enhanced unemployment benefits at $400 per week.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Thursday that talks will resume with the Trump administration when Republicans are willing to spend at least $2 trillion on coronavirus legislation. 

Updated 11:18 a.m.

Tags 2020 election advisers Biden campaign Coronavirus Donald Trump economy Janet Yellen Joe Biden Nancy Pelosi
See all Hill.TV See all Video