In Senate Banking Committee Hearing, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell Agrees with U.S. Senator Tina Smith that Racial Inequities May Worsen If Congress Doesn’t Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. [06/16/20]—Today, U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) pressed Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell on the long-lasting inequities that the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has highlighted and exacerbated. She also emphasized the importance of long-term rental assistance as a way to prevent a full-blown housing and eviction crisis in Minnesota and across the country.  

Sen. Smith—who has held affordable housing listening sessions across Minnesota—told Powell that COVID-19 is not the great equalizer. She said that this crisis has hit working families the hardest, most of whom were already struggling to pay rent and maintain stable housing before the pandemic. Sen. Smith especially highlighted the disparate impact of COVID-19 on people of color whose freedom and economic opportunity has been limited by systemic racism. She has been pressing for passage of a $100 billion rental relief package

“So would you agree that if we did see a surge of evictions… [and] we don’t take additional action, that this would end up exacerbating the racial inequities that we see in our economy right now?” Sen. Smith asked Powell. 

“Yes, it would,” replied Powell. 

You can watch video of Sen. Smith in today’s Senate Banking Committee hearing here.