Transcript: Mary Daly on "Face the Nation," December 20, 2020

San Francisco Fed chief: COVID aid "unequivocally beneficial"
San Francisco Fed chief: COVID aid "unequivoc... 05:37

The following is a transcript of an interview with San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank President Mary Daly that aired Sunday, December 20, 2020, on "Face the Nation."


MARGARET BRENNAN: We go now to the president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, Mary Daly. Good morning to you.

FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF SAN FRANCISCO PRESIDENT MARY DALY: Good morning, MARGARET. And thank you so much for having me.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I would love for you to just give us the bottom line here. We know Congress has pumped in four trillion dollars into the economy to help with the pandemic. They're about to possibly pass about $900 billion in aid. Will all of this make a significant difference in propping up the economy?

DALY: Absolutely. This support is unequivocally beneficial. If you think about where we started in March when COVID hit our shores and where we are now, it's really remarkable that the economy has done so well and that is- speaks to the resiliency of the American people, but, of course, to the significant support that the Federal Reserve and Congress have taken to ensure that the bridge through coronavirus- over coronavirus is both strong enough and long enough to get Americans fully through this.

MARGARET BRENNAN: In this 900 billion dollar emerging deal, it looks like Congress will not provide help to state and local governments in terms of financial support. What impact do you think that will have on the jobs market going into 2021?

DALY: When I think of state and local governments and state and local communities, these are just a community of people. And so the direct support individuals, to households, to businesses in those communities really does help state and local governments because they don't have to provide as much for their citizens. Their citizens are getting the income support they need. And importantly, businesses are getting the loans and funding that they need so that they can keep people employed. So I'm- I'm bullish on the job market once we get fully through coronavirus, but we're not there yet. So, our future is bright, but we've got some challenging months ahead of us as we continue to battle coronavirus.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So it sounds like you are projecting job cuts at the state and local government level in the months to come.

DALY: So far, I'm not seeing evidence that there'll be job cuts. Remember that many of the services that state and localities provide are education and police services and social services. And right now, we really need those services. So, what I'm feeling is that programmatic cuts are- are being discussed. But right now we haven't heard of people cuts, yet.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yet.

DALY: Not in the areas that I serve

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yet. Last- last issue on politics, which I know you're an apolitical institution, but the Fed itself was at the heart of the standoff between Republicans and Democrats, and that hurdle seems to have been overcome late last night. It appears that the deal would allow for the Fed to retain its ability to set up emergency lending programs without congressional approval, but block it from replicating programs like it set up in the spring. Is the bottom line here, for the American people at home, is the Fed affected by this? Can you still respond in an emergency or do you feel like your hands are still tied?

DALY: So, I'm aware of those conversations. I'm not party to those conversations. But let me tell you what's really important. We have powerful tools and we're prepared to fully use those tools to support the American people. So, for all your listeners, we are prepared to conduct monetary policy to be the lender of last resort. And I feel ready and prepared to do just that.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And this new provision wouldn't change that?

DALY: Again, I'm not aware of the specifics of that. I don't think--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Okay.

DALY: --I don't think they've laid out the specifics yet, but I- I believe completely that Congress, the Federal Reserve, the Treasury secretary, the American people really want us to be able to deploy our full tools to the best of the benefit. Remember, these are emergency tools. We only bring them out in times of crisis--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.

DALY: --and then we put them back away. And that's what we're continuing to do. That's what we're prepared to do in the future.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You're a labor economist. You know a lot about jobs. In this latest report we got, it looked like there was improvement. But then when you look inside the numbers, it shows that there are a lot of people who've simply given up looking for work, that seems particularly acute among women. Why do you think that is?

DALY: Well look, women are really in a bind. Many women still are the primary caregivers in their homes and we have home schooling now. So, women are being forced to make this really hard trade off and return to home, give up their careers, give up their jobs in order to make sure that their children are well cared for and can get the schooling and education they need. I mean, parenting is also essential work, and these women are taking on that essential responsibility because they don't have the normal school childcare, or child care more generally in the wake of COVID virus- COVID and coronavirus. So, we really are going to have to, kind of, come together to get past COVID, think about how to get these women back in the workforce, and back contributing in a way that they really want you to, to do both their childcare, their parenting and their vital work.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Is this long term damage to women?

DALY: It could be if we don't get focused on what do we do to get out of this. I really think this is a good time to think about national child care policies, the understanding that we shouldn't really force people to make tradeoffs between family and work. We should really think of work-life integration. How do we do both? How do we do all the things that are important to us?

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yeah.

DALY: That's really what our nation will demand.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And that's a conversation we will have to continue having. Thank you, Mary Daly. We'll leave it there for now. We'll be right back.

DALY: Thank you.