UPDATED 10:54 AM PT – Friday, October 1, 2021
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen faced tough questions as she testified in front of Congress. At a hearing on Thursday, Republican Rep. Ann Wagner (Mo.) grilled Yellen about her response to the pandemic.
“Secretary Yellen thank you for finally taking the time to appear before this committee,” Wagner expressed. “I know that the ranking member has formally requested your presence at least twice within the last few months.”
The Republican lawmaker then sounded the alarm about $46 billion worth of unused funds earmarked for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program. According to Wagner, over 83 percent of funds have not been paid out to struggling renters and landlords so far.
Treasury is developing a framework for this reallocation of ERA funds — I wrote a letter to all ERA grantee programs this week previewing our intended approach, and directing them to resources we’ve made available to help govts build successful programs: https://t.co/9eZMBFa0Na
— Deputy Secretary Wally Adeyemo (@TreasuryDepSec) September 25, 2021
Wagner: “Are you aware that just this past March, Democrats extended the time frame for Emergency Rental Assistance Program to the years 2022 and are you ready for this, 2025 for the two respective programs? Yes or no?”
Yellen: “Yes, there’s significant need and it will continue. ”
Yellen and Wagner then clashed when Yellen attempted to defend herself by saying her department needed more time to build the infrastructure to disperse these funds.
Yellen went on to say, “the infrastructure to do this had to be built.”
Wagner went on to warn the government’s delay of funds was especially concerning in consideration of the millions of tenants and property owners needing support still remained “stuck in limbo.”