New Fed action shows stalled coronavirus bill ‘so essential’

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Sen. Patrick Toomey, R-Pa., said the Federal Reserve’s latest round of emergency action Monday underscores the importance of the coronavirus relief legislation being negotiated in the Senate. 

“It is true that the Fed theoretically has an infinite balance sheet, but the Fed has constraints in how it can deploy that. The Fed is not allowed to lose money,” Toomey said on “Squawk Box.” “That’s why our legislation is so essential.”

The Fed on Monday said it will continue its asset purchasing program “in the amounts needed to support smooth market functioning and effective transmission of monetary policy to broader financial conditions and the economy.”

It also announced a program targeted toward Main Street businesses and the Term Asset-Backed Loan Facility that was put in place during the financial crisis.

U.S. stock futures went from around 600 points negative to positive after the Fed’s moves were announced. 

Toomey said the next around of legislation, which failed a key procedural vote in the Senate on Sunday, is necessary to help both American workers and complement the Fed’s programs to smooth market functioning. 

“What we do is we authorize a program where the Treasury can capitalize vehicles that can then go out and leverage up that capital, many multiples from the Fed, and use that to first and foremost stabilize these markets. Get the corporate bond market, get the muni market functioning because they are not functioning right now,” Toomey said. 

The Senate’s legislation will also help set up broad-based lending facilities for corporate borrowers, Toomey said. 

“The point is to provide the liquidity to get through this terrible moment. We all hope this is brief but if you are prohibited from opening your doors, if you cannot sell your products, you cannot stay alive,” Toomey said. 

Toomey criticized Democratic senators who stood in the way of the legislation clearing a key procedural hurdle. He said every day that goes by without additional economic relief for businesses makes it more likely another one closes for good. 

“And they don’t just come back with a flip of switch,” he said. 

— CNBC’s Jeff Cox contributed to this report. 

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