Andrew Yang, the tech entrepreneur and former Democratic presidential candidate who ran on a promise to give every American $1,000 a month, said he is “beyond disappointed” that Congress has yet to agree on a coronavirus relief package that would include a second round of stimulus checks and additional unemployment benefits.
“It’s infuriating that so many Americans are hurting and we’re still waiting on a relief bill that should have been passed months ago,” Yang said in an interview with CNN.
Yang’s comments come as the latest stimulus bill negotiations appear to be sputtering yet again. With President Trump calling off negotiations last week—and then quickly calling them back on again—the White House came back on Friday with a stimulus offer of $1.8 trillion. That’s less than the $2.2 trillion package Democrats had been pushing for but higher than the previous $1.6 trillion package. In other words, a compromise.
The plan would include direct payments to Americans in the form of $1,200 stimulus checks as well as $400 in weekly federal unemployment benefits.
However, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi apparently does not think the bill goes far enough, calling it “one step forward, two steps back” in a letter to colleagues, CBS News reported. The lack of a robust plan for coronavirus testing and tracing remains a key sticking point.
In a tweet, on Saturday, Yang said Pelosi should “put politics aside” and take the deal.
Yang isn’t the only prominent Democrat calling for action before the election. Congressman Ro Khanna, who represents the California district that includes Silicon Valley, tweeted that the $1.8 trillion deal is “significant” and would, among other things, give former Vice President Joe Biden some infrastructure to start with should he win in November. Taking the deal would also put the ball in Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s court, Khanna said.
McConnell indicated last week that no deal would happen until after the election.
As Yang pointed out on CNN, it’s been five long months since the Democrat-controlled House passed the first version of the HEROES Act.
“This would be a lifeline for millions of Americans, and I have no idea why this isn’t being passed,” Yang said of the latest deal. “Instead they’re grandstanding and playing politics while people are hurting.”