Axne Pushes Treasury Secretary, Federal Reserve Chair on Solutions to Workforce Shortages, Inflation

September 30, 2021
Press Release
At Financial Services Committee hearing, Axne asks economic policymakers how federal investments in child care, paid leave, and supply chains could promote economic growth and stability

At a hearing today before the House Financial Services Committee, Rep. Cindy Axne (IA-03) sought insight from U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell on how federal investments in child care, paid leave, and supply chain resiliency could be utilized to address issues affecting Iowa’s economy – including workforce shortages and inflation.

Rep. Axne raised the issue of worker shortages to both economic policymakers, and asked how investments in workers like expanded access to affordable child care and paid leave could help get more Iowans into the labor market.

“Should we…invest in policies like child care, that help get people into the workforce?” Rep. Axne asked.

“Yes, I think over the longer term, we’ve had a problem with declining labor force participation of prime age workers,” said Secretary Yellen. “Once upon a time, the United States – just with respect to women’s labor force participation – had just about the highest in the world. That’s changed radically in recent decades as we’ve failed to expand and provide the level of support for female, especially women’s labor participation. We’ve fallen behind other developed counties.”

Rep. Axne also raised the underlying causes of inflation in the U.S. economy – including supply chain disruptions and economic turbulence in industries heavily affected by COVID-19.

“I hear regularly from businesses in my district about supply chain issues coming off of the pandemic that are unfortunately holding back our companies. One recently told me that their sales are down $120 million,” said Rep. Axne. “While we’ve got you two here…what are the solutions?”

“These are tangled supply chains right now – it’s a combination of a bunch of factors that should abate over time…investment in supply chains would make them more efficient,” Chair Powell said.

The full clip of Rep. Axne’s questions for the two policymakers can be found here.

The full hearing can be found here.