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Fed's Kashkari says U.S. Congress needs speedy action as layoffs rise

March 18 (Reuters) - Minneapolis Federal Reserve President Neel Kashkari on Wednesday said Congress must act fast to help Americans already losing their jobs amid the fast-spreading coronavirus epidemic.

"Speed is of the essence here," he told CNN, adding that Minneapolis alone, a state with a much smaller population than California or New York where infections are exploding, has this week lost tens of thousands of jobs. "Whatever Congress is going to do, the faster they can do it, and the more aggressively they can do it, the more people we can help."

(Reporting Ann Saphir; Editing by Sandra Maler)