In First Senate Banking Hearing, Senator Reverend Warnock Questions Federal Reserve Board Chair Powell on Pandemic Recovery, Rebuilding Economy to Work for All Georgians

During his inaugural committee hearing, Senator Warnock asked Chairman Powell to discuss the risks of reopening the economy without adequately protecting public health
Senator Warnock also asked Chairman Powell to consider generational poverty, racial disparities in evaluating whether the economy is working for real people
Senator Warnock: “The bottom-line is that poverty, systemic inequality, wealth inequality are risks to the entire economy”

Washington, D.C. – In his first hearing as a member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, yesterday U.S. Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA) questioned Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell about how opening our economy, without ensuring people are able to remain safe and healthy throughout the reopening process, will prevent the full recovery of our state and local economy due to the on-going health and economic impacts of COVID-19. During the exchange, Senator Warnock also highlighted the risk poverty poses to the well-being of Georgians, as well as the health of the state and national economy. 

“I am curious how broad is your definition of systemic risk. My definition of systemic risk includes the cycle of poverty, it includes things like disparities in wages that mean women make less than men, people of color make less than their white sisters and brothers; it includes food insecurity, housing insecurity, lack of access to health care. These things feed a cycle that limits opportunity, limits upward mobility and people’s ability to reach their full potential which then has implications for the whole economy. How do you factor these kinds of things in as you take stock of whether the economy is working or not and for whom is the economy working?” Senator Warnock asked Chairman Powell at one point during the hearing. 

Following Chairman Powell’s response, Senator Warnock added: “The bottom line is that poverty, systemic inequality, wealth inequality are risks to the entire economy and  have implications for all of us; these issues cannot be siloed which is why we have to take this into consideration as we push forward for COVID relief and then pivot to address longstanding issues of wealth inequality in our country.”

See full videos of Senator Warnock’s exchange with Chairman Powell HERE and HERE.