Jerome H. Powell, the chair of Federal Reserve, is expected to tell Congress on Tuesday that the economy has made meaningful progress but that the outlook is uncertain and policymakers will need to do more.
“Many economic indicators show marked improvement,” Mr. Powell is set to tell the House Financial Services committee, crediting some of the gains to fiscal policies like expanded unemployment insurance, which expired at the end of July. “Both employment and overall economic activity, however, remain well below their pre-pandemic levels, and the path ahead continues to be highly uncertain.”
Mr. Powell will say the path forward will depend on virus control and “policy actions taken at all levels of government,” according to his remarks prepared for delivery.
The Fed chair is scheduled to testify alongside Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin at 10:30 a.m. Eastern time.
Mr. Powell will also address the Main Street lending program, an effort to make loans to midsize businesses that is supported by congressional funding appropriated to the Treasury Department. The Fed and the Treasury have taken criticism for the effort, which is structured in a fairly risk-averse way and which is using hardly any of its $600 billion in capacity.
The program has made or is in the process of making about 230 loans totaling roughly $2 billion, according to Mr. Powell’s statement. But he will stress the limits of loan programs and suggest that congressional spending might be more appropriate in some instances.
“Many borrowers will benefit from these programs, as will the overall economy, but for others, a loan that could be difficult to repay might not be the answer,” he will say. “In these cases, direct fiscal support may be needed.”
Tesla is expected to outline advances in battery technology and announce new production plans on Tuesday as part of its annual general meeting and a “Battery Day” presentation
much anticipated by the carmaker’s fans.
In a message on Twitter, the company’s chief executive, Elon Musk, said the battery strategy “affects long-term production” of its vehicles, especially three vehicles not yet introduced — a semi truck, a pickup known as the Cybertruck and a two-seat roadster.
Mr. Musk also appeared to temper expectations for an immediate effect on Tesla’s business, saying that what the company will announce “will not reach serious high-volume production until 2022.”
He also said Tesla would increase purchases of battery cells from Panasonic, LG and CATL, a Chinese battery maker. But he hinted that Tesla had new manufacturing goals of its own. “Even with our cell suppliers going at maximum speed, we still foresee significant shortages in 2022 and beyond unless we also take action ourselves,” he wrote.
The events on Tuesday will begin after the close of Wall Street trading. Because of the pandemic, the meeting and presentation will be available mostly to an online audience, though the company said “a very limited number of stockholders,” determined by a drawing, would be allowed to attend in person.
Tesla offers models that can go 350 miles or more on a single charge, while many competitors fall short of that range. Audi’s e-tron electric sport utility vehicle and the Chevrolet Bolt, made by General Motors, go about 200 to 250 miles on a charge.
But many companies are racing to catch or pass Tesla. A start-up company, Lucid Motors, has said it plans to offer a car next year that can exceed 500 miles on a charge.
Mr. Musk has often outlined ambitious plans that failed to unfold as described. Last year, he said one million Teslas would be operating in the United States this summer as driverless taxis. But the company has not yet demonstrated a car capable of operating without a driver.