Fed rolls out $2.3 trillion to backstop 'Main Street,' local governments during crisis
The U.S. Federal Reserve on Thursday rolled out a broad, 2.3-trillion-U.S.-dollar effort to bolster local governments and small and mid-sized businesses in its latest move to keep the U.S. economy intact as the country battles the coronavirus pandemic.
The Fed said it would work through banks to offer four-year loans to companies of up to 10,000 employees and directly buy the bonds of states and more populous counties and cities to help them respond to the health crisis.
In announcing what may prove its most groundbreaking step in the crisis fight, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the Fed's role had now broadened beyond its usual focus in keeping markets "liquid" and functioning, to helping the United States get the economic and financial space it needs to fix a dire health emergency.
"Our country's highest priority must be to address this public health crisis, providing care for the ill and limiting the further spread of the virus," Powell said in a statement released on Thursday. "The Fed's role is to provide as much relief and stability as we can during this period of constrained economic activity, and our actions today will help ensure that the eventual recovery is as vigorous as possible."
Powell is scheduled to make separate comments at 10 a.m. eastern standard time.