Yellen calls for 'acting now - and acting big' on pandemic relief

FILE PHOTO: Janet Yellen speaks at a news conference in Washington, U.S. December 13, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Wednesday said it was imperative to enact a comprehensive $1.9 trillion economic rescue package that includes $350 billion in aid to state and local governments, the Treasury said in a statement.

Yellen, in a call with a bipartisan group of mayors, said the government’s failure to provide sufficient aid to states and localities during the last recession had resulted in sharp cuts in infrastructure and education, weakening the labor market and undercutting a broader economic recovery.

“The benefits of acting now – and acting big – will far outweigh the costs over the long term,” it said.

Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Chris Reese