On the second day of the DealBook DC Policy Project, we will hear from more policymakers and business leaders about the challenges for the coronavirus vaccine rollout, the future of financial regulation and the outlook for bipartisanship in polarized times.
Here is the lineup (all times Eastern):
12:30 P.M. – 1 P.M.
Karen Lynch of CVS Health on the vaccine rollout
Karen Lynch took over CVS Health this month as the pharmacy chain takes center stage in efforts to fight the pandemic. It is working with the government to distribute the coronavirus vaccine in its stores, as well as in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities. To aid in those efforts, the company hired 15,000 employees at the end of last year, staffing up to deal with what President Biden has called “gigantic” logistical hurdles to the vaccine rollout.
2:30 P.M. – 3 P.M.
Vlad Tenev of Robinhood and Jay Clayton, former S.E.C. chairman, on the markets
At the center of the recent meme-stock frenzy was the online brokerage firm Robinhood, which has attracted millions of users with commission-free trades but drew outrage among its users when it halted trading in GameStop and other stocks at the height of the mania.
Vlad Tenev, Robinhood’s chief executive, is fresh from facing hours of hostile questioning at a congressional hearing last week about his company’s business practices. Joining him to discuss what regulators should now do — if anything — is Jay Clayton, the veteran Wall Street lawyer who led the Securities and Exchange Commission during the Trump administration. From the beginning of his tenure, Mr. Clayton said that his mission was protecting “the long-term interests of the Main Street investor.”
5:30 P.M. – 6 P.M.
Senator Mitt Romney on finding common ground
Senator Mitt Romney, Republican of Utah, crossed party lines to vote to convict President Donald J. Trump on articles of impeachment, twice. He is also drafting a bill with Senator Tom Cotton, Republican of Arkansas, that would raise the minimum wage while forbidding businesses to hire undocumented immigrants. This is typical of Mr. Romney’s approach, speaking to concerns on both sides of the aisle in an era of stark partisan divisions.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen opened the DealBook DC Policy Project on Monday, moderated by The New York Times’s Andrew Ross Sorkin, about the prospects for a post-pandemic recovery.
Highlights from the discussion:
“We need to make sure that those who have been most affected aren’t permanently scarred by this crisis,” Ms. Yellen said. “There are a lot of different metrics we can use to judge success,” she said. “Success, to me, would be if we could get back to pre-pandemic levels of unemployment, and see the re-employment of those who have lost jobs in the service sector particularly.”
“Of course, a key job for a Treasury secretary is to make sure our country is on a sound fiscal course,” she said. “If you don’t spend what is necessary to get the economy quickly back on track, that has a fiscal cost as well.” Although U.S. debt levels are much higher than they were during the 2008 financial crisis, because of lower interest rates, the share of interest payments as a share of G.D.P. today is roughly the same, she noted. “I think we have more fiscal space than we used to because of the interest rate environment, and I think we should consider using it.”
A so-called digital dollar, maintained by the Federal Reserve and based on a blockchain, could result in “faster, safer and cheaper payments,” she said. There are also issues to resolve first. “What would be the impact on the banking system? Would it cause a huge movement of deposits out of banks and into the Fed? Would the Fed deal with retail customers or try to do this at a wholesale level? Are there financial stability…