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Yellen tells Congress U.S. gov't still operating at money levels designed for 2010

By Daniel Uria & K. Don Johnson
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Yellen tells Congress U.S. gov't still operating at money levels designed for 2010
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, pictured here during a bilateral meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the White House on May 21, will testify Thursday a day after she skipped a different congressional hearing. Pool Photo by Stefani Reynolds/UPI | License Photo

May 27 (UPI) -- Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told lawmakers on Thursday that Congress should increase spending, which includes devoting money to President Joe Biden's recovery proposals, because the government is still operating like it's 2010.

Yellen made the remarks in testimony before a House appropriations subcommittee, a day after she skipped out on a similar hearing.

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She noted that spending has remained stagnant for the past 11 years -- even in the face of a global health crisis that's crushed the economy.

Biden's first formal 2022 budget proposal to Congress on Friday is expected to ask for $6 trillion and sustained levels of spending higher than any year since World War II.

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In the Treasury's budget request, Yellen asked for $13 billion to fund IRS discretionary spending and $417 million for Biden's American Families Plan.

"Our team has done valiant work implementing these programs with the resources at our disposal," Yellen said in her opening statement.

"But we cannot continue to be good stewards of this recovery -- and tackle the new bodies of work that Congress assigns to us in the years beyond -- with a budget that was designed for 2010."

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As Treasury secretary, Yellen is responsible for overseeing programs to aid economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and advocating for measures to fund Biden's policy goals.

"Not accounting for inflation, our annual budget is still at the same enacted level as 2010, and critical policy offices -- like Domestic Finance, Economic Policy, and Tax Policy -- have seen their budgets cut by as much as 20% since 2016," Yellen added.

Yellen's department announced Wednesday that the IRS has sent out nearly 2 million additional Economic Impact Payments over the past two weeks. There have been almost 170 million total payments worth almost $400 billion since March.

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Yellen's appearance Thursday came a day after she failed to attend a House hearing with Small Business Administration Administrator Isabel Guzman, to testify about the Paycheck Protection Program.

Her absence perturbed members of both parties.

"Unfortunately, Treasury Secretary Yellen has declined to appear before us in complete disregard for the law, which requires her to do so," House small business committee Chairwoman Rep. Nydia Velazquez, D-N.Y., said at the hearing Wednesday, according to CNBC.

"While she and her team may believe their role in PPP and other small business COVID relief programs is dwindling as we move towards economic rebirth -- they are sorely mistaken."

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"I am deeply disappointed and concerned that Secretary Yellen is not with us today, as the appearance of the Treasury Secretary is required by law," Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Mo., added.

The department didn't explain Yellen's no-show.

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Housing and Urban Development Secretary. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki (L) looks on as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Fudge, the first Black woman to lead the department in decades, speaks at a news conference in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House. Photo by Michael Reynolds/UPI | License Photo

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