Yesterday, Secretary Lew participated in a discussion at the Council of Foreign Relations in Washington, DC, where he touched on the progress of our economic recovery, financial reform, developments in the global economy, and the importance of Congress extending the nation’s borrowing authority.
Secretary Lew observed that the United States is starting 2014 with “economic tailwinds and not headwinds” when it comes to fiscal policy, praising the budget agreement recently passed by Congress and citing the positive statistics across different sectors of the economy. However, he cautioned, “we are not out of woods completely, noting that “as long as we still have so many Americans looking for work, our job is to focus on more growth and more jobs.”
Secretary Lew also spoke about the importance of extending the nation’s borrowing authority in order to allow Treasury to pay the bills that presidents and congresses of both parties have already approved. He noted that Congress should act as quickly as possible to address the debt limit, warning that “the build-up to the last minute causes damage [to the economy]. It's a mistake to wait until the 11th hour.” Secretary Lew also noted that the extraordinary measures Treasury is often forced to use in debt limit impasses could be exhausted as soon as late February.
Taking questions from the moderator, the Wall Street Journal’s John Bussey, and members of the audience, Secretary Lew also spoke about important developments in the global economy from Europe to Asia, and Treasury’s work around the world. The Secretary also addressed the need to extend unemployment insurance and other ways the U.S. can invest in growing our economy and help Americans that are still climbing out of the deep recession.
Watch the full video, courtesy of the Council of Foreign Relations, below:
Anthony Reyes is the New Media Specialist at the United States Department of the Treasury.