Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

Ahead of his testimony before the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday, Fed Chair Jerome Powell previewed what Americans can expect in the coming months from policymakers: a whole lot more.

What it means: Powell has been adamant that the Fed has not run out of ammunition, even after adding more than $2.5 trillion to the central bank's balance sheet — more than half its pre-2020 total — in just the past two months.

What he said: "There's really no limit to what we can do with these lending programs that we have."

  • "So there's a lot more we can do to support the economy, and we're committed to doing everything we can as long as we need to."
  • Powell also called on Congress to do more, asserting again that it was necessary for fiscal spending to increase after a similarly straightforward call during an interview with the Peterson Institute for International Economics last week.

The state of play: Powell, a Republican who has spoken out about the unsustainable nature of the U.S. national debt, also took aim at deficit hawks who have balked at the cost of more spending.

  • "The U.S. has been spending more than it's been taking in for some time. And that's something we're going to have to deal with. The time to deal with that ... is when the economy is strong."
  • "When unemployment is low, when economic activity is high, that's when you deal with that problem. This is not the time to prioritize that concern."

Why it matters: Powell's comments are the latest evidence that he expects the coronavirus pandemic to cause serious and potentially long-term damage to the U.S. economy and expects much more than $2.5 trillion from the Fed will be needed to hold up financial markets.

  • The audiences for his recent overtures — the politically well-connected PIIE and now the active voters who watch "60 Minutes" — suggest he is working to create a similar sentiment among policymakers in Washington.

Go deeper: Fed chair warns U.S. economy may not "fully recover" until there's a vaccine

Go deeper

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Aug 22, 2020 - Health

Better testing can fight more than the pandemic

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

New coronavirus diagnostics could eventually enable near-constant testing — and herald a future where even common infections no longer go undiagnosed.

Why it matters: Rapid testing could be especially important during the winter, when it will become vital to quickly distinguish between an ordinary cold or flu and a new disease like COVID-19.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Aug 26, 2020 - Health
What Matters 2020

Axios-Ipsos poll: The racial gap on coronavirus vaccine

Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Note: 1,084 U.S. adults were surveyed between Aug. 21-24, 2020 with a ±3.3% margin of error; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

Black Americans are less likely than white Americans to say they plan to get a flu vaccine this year, and significantly less likely to say they'll take a first-generation coronavirus vaccine, according to numbers from the latest edition of the Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

Why it matters: Black Americans have suffered disproportionately from COVID-19, which means they also stand to benefit from a successful vaccine. But a legacy of medical mistreatment, systematic racism in health care and targeted efforts by anti-vaxxers means that a wide trust gap needs to be closed first.

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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

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