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Former Sanders press secretary: Further means-testing of COVID-19 aid 'unconscionable'

Briahna Joy Gray, co-host of the “Bad Faith” podcast and former press secretary to Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersIntercept bureau chief: minimum wage was not 'high priority' for Biden in COVID-19 relief Murkowski never told White House she would oppose Tanden Tanden withdraws nomination as Biden budget chief MORE’s (I-Vt.) 2020 presidential campaign, said it would be “unconscionable” to further reduce the amount of direct coronavirus aid provided by the Biden administration.

“It’s bad enough that $2,000 checks has now become $1,400 checks, but now further conversation about means-testing that amount even more, when 8 million people have been plunged into poverty in the last six months of 2020, is really quite unconscionable,” Gray said in a Wednesday Hill.TV interview.

Gray added that when the CARES Act passed in 2020, “nobody was complaining as we were pumping money into corporations, where small businesses and individuals were getting very, very little of that material benefit.”

Since President Biden took office, however, “[Sen.] Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyOn The Money: Tanden withdraws nomination as Biden budget chief | Relief bill tests narrow Democratic majority | Senate confirms Biden's picks for Commerce, top WH economist Romney released from hospital after fall over the weekend Kinzinger: Trump just wants to 'stand in front of a crowd and be adored' MORE and the deficit hawks have something to say when it comes down to very paltry amounts being delivered to an American population that is still desperately in need and largely still ignored by our governing bodies.”

Gray agreed with co-host Krystal Ball that means-testing aid would “create resentment” between those who are and are not eligible for it, which lawmakers opposed to government spending would welcome.

“Moreover, means-testing takes time,” Gray added. “We’re talking about a population in crisis that is now going to have to wait longer as congresspeople ... figure out how to exclude just enough people to make deficit hawks happy.”