Harris says she admires Yang’s cash giveaway plan

Sen. Kamala Harris said Friday she admires Andrew Yang’s expanded “Freedom Dividends” proposal after appearing to chuckle at the suggestion during Thursday night’s debate.

“I admire and, frankly, take joy in hearing people with innovative ideas and who are questioning the status quo and willing to challenge it,” Harris said in an interview with CNN’s Alisyn Camerota on “New Day.”

During Thursday night’s Democratic debate, Harris appeared to chuckle after businessman Andrew Yang announced that his campaign would give $1,000 a month to 10 deserving families.

Harris defended her response, saying on Friday that “I think he is challenging all of us to think about how we can be more innovative. And I admire that.”

Yang’s proposal, which he calls the “Freedom Dividends,” is a model of his Universal Basic Income campaign platform. Yang is proposing to give all Americans 18 and over $1,000 a month, saying it will help make the economy more equitable and allow people to decide how to use the money rather than the government.

Yang is currently making monthly “Freedom Dividends” payments to three families in Iowa, New Hampshire and Florida, according to his campaign. Under his plan announced Thursday night, Yang proposed to pay 10 additional families, with the money coming from his campaign account rather than his personal wealth.

Campaign finance experts say it’s unclear whether Yang can make these payments out of his own campaign account, as they may run afoul of federal law that bars converting campaign funds to personal use.

In a statement, Yang’s campaign aides said they had consulted with their lawyers, who say the “Freedom Dividends are fully compliant with all FEC regulations.”