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WASHINGTON, D. C., DPA – Janet Yellen, the nominee to become treasury secretary in the incoming administration of Joe Biden, has told the US Senate she believes that a large additional stimulus package is needed to help the country get through the final months of the pandemic.

“The smartest thing we can do is act big,” Yellen said at her confirmation hearing, noting that interest rates are at historic lows.

She spoke about making major investments such as infrastructure projects.

President-elect Joe Biden is pushing for an additional $US1.9 trillion ($A2.5 trillion) in stimulus, which Yellen said would help those “struggling,” saying women and minority groups are being particularly hard hit.

She warned that low-balling the needed relief could prolong the economic downturn.

Yellen said, more generally, that the US economy needs to be rebuilt to ensure “more prosperity for more people” and to compete in a globalised world.