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Monday, October 26, 2020

Mark Cuban on stalled stimulus negotiations: All of Congress is ‘complicit in the problem’

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After weeks of negotiating a stimulus package, Congress remains at an impasse.

Although President Trump on Thursday said he would “go higher” than the $1.8 trillion he offered in his aid proposal, his administration has yet to reach an agreement with House Democrats, who recently passed a $2.2 trillion measure. Complicating matters, Senate Republicans have signaled that they are hesitant to pass a bill as big as either the administration or the Democrats are proposing.

To move negotiations forward, Americans need to put pressure on their elected officials, Mark Cuban, self-made billionaire, investor on ABC’s “Shark Tank” and owner of the Dallas Mavericks, tells CNBC Make It.

“I would ask the American people to speak to their representatives and explain how important this stimulus program is to them, their families and their communities,” he says. “I would go to senators and congressmen directly and ask them to put constituents and their needs over [their political] party.”

The current stalemate, according to Cuban, is a result of elected officials being afraid to stand against their party’s leadership. Cuban sees this as a result of a “lack of leadership and hyper partisanship” and says that “all current politicians are complicit in the problem.” 

This is not the first time Cuban has shared his thoughts regarding politics. He has previously criticized the leadership skills of both President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden — in May, Cuban said Trump did not show strength in his leadership, and in April, he called Biden “too silent” in tackling important issues.

Cuban has even flirted with the idea of running for president himself, but ultimately decided against it after his family asked him not to.

Nonetheless, “the voice of the American people is stronger than any politician,” Cuban says. “But no one seems to want to listen to us. That is the first thing that needs to change.”

Throughout the pandemic, Cuban has urged for further stimulus to help struggling Americans. In September, he offered his own stimulus proposal: He believes that all American households, regardless of income level, should receive a $1,000 stimulus check every two weeks for the next two months, he previously told CNBC Make It. The check would have to be spent within 10 days, or families would lose the money.

“We need [the stimulus] as much now as we did back then,” at the start of the pandemic, he says. “Those without [help] are struggling badly. We need to get them help.”

Cuban isn’t the only businesses executive advocating for stimulus. Walmart CEO Doug McMillion says Congress needs to focus on helping the American people. “For both sides,” McMillion told CNBC on Thursday, “I think what they need to keep in mind is that there are Americans that need them, that don’t really care about politics, aren’t really tied up in this election and they just need some help.”

Economists have also said that more stimulus is crucial. Continued financial support is imperative, R.A. Farrokhnia, professor of finance at Columbia Business School, previously told CNBC Make It. “The profound impact of the economic fallout is truly hurting many working Americans.”

As of Oct. 10, initial U.S. jobless claims reached 898,000, the highest level since August, according to the Labor Department. And although more people are returning to work, 25 million Americans are still relying on unemployment benefits. Since May, an estimated 8 million people have fallen into poverty, according to researchers from Columbia University.

Disclosure: CNBC owns the exclusive off-network cable rights to “Shark Tank.”

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