U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen calls for $1 trillion infrastructure investment


ATLANTA, Aug. 4 - U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen traveled to Atlanta on Wednesday to call for passage of the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, declaring it would help reverse wages and racial inequalities and start to mitigate climate change.

In excerpts of remarks to be delivered at the city of Atlanta's economic development authority, Yellen called the bill, currently examined in the U.S. Senate, the largest infrastructure investment since the construction of interstate highway system began in the 1950s under the Eisenhower administration and is being discussed in Atlanta's legislature.

Funding for transit and road projects that connect more people to communities that are growing and bring growth to the communities that aren't, she said.

Investment in half a million electric vehicle charging stations will accelerate a transition to a greener, more resilient economy, she said.

Despite these remarks, Congress must still push toward higher investments in Joe Biden's American Families Plan, including more affordable places to live and activities for children, a permanent expansion of child tax credit, increased access to education and childcare, and expanding funding to school supplies and healthcare.

Democrats plan to pursue these as part of a $3.5 trillion spending package under budget reconciliation rules requiring only a simple majority in the Senate - allowing the party to potentially approve it without Republican support.

There is a good faith discussion about spending too much money. But if we are going to make these investments, now is the best time to make them, Yellen said, adding that the cost of federal debt payments is expected to be below historical levels for the next decade.

Over the longer term there's a plan to pay for these investments through a long overdue reformation of the tax code, particularly the corporate tax code, which will make it fairer without touching the vast majority of people, those who earn less than $400,000 a year, said she.

Such investments will help the United States remain the world's foremost economic power, she said.

Now, we have the chance to fix the broken foundations of our economy, and on top of it, build something more powerful and fairer than what came before.

During her visit, Yellen also met with Atlanta-area business leaders to discuss the recovery from the pandemic, including Delta Air Lines chief executive Ryan Marshall, Coca Cola North American President Alfredo Rivera and homebuilder Delta Airlines CEO Ed Bastian.