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Rep. Ro Khanna on Biden's stimulus plan

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California Congressman Ro Khanna joined Yahoo Finance Live to discuss big tech regulation and his thoughts on Biden's stimulus plan.

Video Transcript

[MUSIC PLAYING]

ADAM SHAPIRO: Welcome back to Yahoo Finance Live, as we are heading towards the closing bell. We've got roughly 24 minutes till we get there. We want to continue the discussion about the Biden administration and Democratic plans to get the economy going, but also the latest on potential plans to break up some big tech.

And we invite into the stream Congressman Ro Khanna, a representative from California, along with our Washington, DC correspondent, Jessica Smith. Congressman Khanna, let me start with you. I'm going to stick to the aggressive plan very quickly. There are members of the Senate, who, as we just heard In the last segment, are not willing to go along with the $1.9 trillion stimulus plan, as the administration wants. How do you get them to change their mind, or where do you compromise?

RO KHANNA: Well, we pass it through reconciliation. This plan is very reasonable. This is not a far left plan. This is a plan that says a $15 minimum wage, $2,000 checks, helping cut child poverty by half with the child allowance, helping increase the earned income tax credit. Joe Biden won the election. He campaigned on this kind of plan, and we should pass it.

JESSICA SMITH: Hi, congressman, Jessica Smith here. I know something you'd like to see is a monthly stimulus check. If you are seeing Republicans and even some moderate Democrats push back on this one-time $1,400 check, how do you get to a monthly check?

RO KHANNA: Well, it's very difficult, but it would have really helped. You know, we spent $8 trillion so far as a federal government. Someone of my town hall said that that was $25,000 for every American. And most Americans haven't felt the relief. So what Tim Ryan and I had said back in March is give people a monthly check. If we can have the Fed have $7 trillion of liability, a lot of that bailing out corporations and financial institutions, why can't we have Americans, ordinary Americans, get relief at this time?

We're going to need more than just progressives pushing for it, though. We're going to need ultimately the administration to champion it. I agree with you that it's an uphill lift. I haven't been succeeded in eight months in getting it done. I'm enthusiastic about the president's plan. But it's just a start.

SEANA SMITH: Congressman, you say it's just a start, but I think going back to what Adam pointed to earlier, it's going to be very hard to get this through Congress, to get some Republicans on board with it. Are there any concessions that you would be willing to make in this bill in hopes to get something through now and then follow up with something slightly bigger or a little bit more trimmed down in the future?

RO KHANNA: No, my concession could be that we can still call it the Byrd Rule, but amend it. And we don't have to take Robert Byrd's name away from it. But, you know, it was 1985 that he came up with this absurd rule that you can't have anything related to non-deficit reduction part of reconciliation. Why should we be bothered or governed by what Robert Byrd thought in 1985 for this country when we have those challenges? So my compromise would be keep the name, but allow us to do reconciliation with 51 votes and help the American people.

JESSICA SMITH: You know, we have heard a lot on both sides here about compromise and the need for unity. But what I'm hearing from you and what I've seen from you on Twitter is, you know, now is the time to go big with some of the progressive goals. Why do you think that is a better strategy than trying to reach across the aisle and find bipartisan issues that you can work on?

RO KHANNA: Because I don't think a number of the people in the Senate are representative of the actual interests of the American people. There is bipartisan consensus for a $15 minimum wage. There is bipartisan consensus for expanding the earned income tax credit. There is bipartisan consensus for $2,000 checks. We're not talking about things that are very controversial here.

I understand that you have to compromise if there are issues that don't have 60%, 70% of the public's support. These issues are supported by Democrats and Republicans. They're not supported by big business. They're not supported by the special interests. But the Senate in current form is not a true representative body of the American people.

ADAM SHAPIRO: Very quickly, want to shift to tech, congressman. And these are some of your constituents. Have they grown too big for their britches? Is it time to break them up?

RO KHANNA: Well, there definitely is a need for strong antitrust enforcement. I don't think the test should be how big you are. The question should be, are you abusing your dominance on these platforms? Are you doing things that are preventing competitors from emerging?

So I think it's perfectly justifiable for the Justice Department to look into Facebook's acquisition of WhatsApp and Instagram. I was opposed to that. If they want to unravel that, I understand that that may be the remedy. I think it's important to look into deals that are being done by competitors to make sure they're not blocking out competition from emerging.

ADAM SHAPIRO: Thank you so much, and we appreciate your being here, representative Ro Khanna from California, as well as Jessica--