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Yellen discusses Russian sanctions at SIEPR Economic Summit

From the policy front line: Treasury secretary addresses invasion of Ukraine

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen reiterated the effectiveness of economic sanctions against Russia on Friday during remarks at the SIEPR Economic Summit.

Echoing comments made earlier this week and reinforcing President Biden’s logic behind U.S. sanctions against Russia and its leader in response to Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, Yellen said she will help protect the U.S. economy against any ripple effects.

“The guiding principle in developing these sanctions has been, first, to cause acute harm to Russia’s economy while preventing spillover effects into the global economy and harm to Americans and our European partners,” Yellen said.

Yellen said the Treasury Department began developing a set of punitive measures when Russian troops began amassing at the Ukrainian border last fall. She called Monday’s ban on all U.S. transactions with Russia’s central bank the “most serious step we have taken thus far.”

“This is by far the most expansive sanctions package against an economy of this size,” said Yellen.

Yellen’s remarks came during a Q&A with SIEPR Senior Fellow Emeritus John Shoven following her keynote address at the SIEPR Economic Summit — a conference held annually by the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research to convene top leaders in government, business and academia to discuss pressing policy issues.

In her keynote address, Yellen also outlined President Biden’s proposals for addressing deep-seated income and racial inequality across the United States. The policies, which she called “modern supply side economics,” aims to close these gaps through improvements in education and the labor supply.

More details of Yellen’s keynote address and coverage of the SIEPR Economic Summit will be posted here next week.