Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) said fellow 2020 presidential contender Andrew Yang is challenging other candidates to be “more innovative” when asked about her reaction to his money giveaway announcement at the latest Democratic presidential debate Thursday night.
During his opening statement on the debate stage at the historically Black Texas Southern University, Yang said his campaign will give away $1,000 a month to randomly selected families over the course of a year to test his universal basic income proposal.
“This is how we will get our country working for us again, the American people,” the entrepreneur said.
The audience cheered for Yang, who then pointed to the crowd in a playful manner.
As the TV camera panned over to South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Harris could distinctly be heard laughing in the background. A smiling Buttigieg then said after a pause: “It’s original, I’ll give you that.”
Watch the sequence here:
On Friday, CNN’s Alisyn Camerota asked Harris her thoughts on Yang’s money giveaway moment, noting that the senator could be heard laughing after Yang announced it.
Harris responded by saying that she takes “joy” in “hearing people with innovative ideas and who are questioning the status quo and willing to challenge it.” (Watch the entire debate on ABC News here.)
“I think that’s healthy for our democracy,” Harris continued. “And one of the things I like about Andrew Yang is he is constantly raising ideas and approaches that have not typically been on that debate stage, and I think he is challenging all of us to think about how we can be more innovative, and I admire that.”
Yang’s Thursday night announcement aligns with the universal basic income proposal central to his campaign: Give every U.S. citizen over the age of 18 guaranteed payments of $1,000 per month.
His proposal aims to address the impact of growing automation, which he argues threatens to cause widespread unemployment.
The next Democratic presidential debate is slated for Oct. 15, and possibly Oct. 16, depending on how many candidates qualify.
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