Georgia GOP Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, who are both facing Democratic challengers in next week’s Senate runoffs, said Tuesday they support $2,000 direct payments to Americans.
CBS News reported the House voted Monday to pass legislation to bolster previously agreed-upon $600 coronavirus stimulus payments to $2,000.
The fate of those payments remains to be seen, however, as Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked an attempt from Democratic Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer of New York to increase the payments by a unanimous vote Tuesday afternoon, CNBC reported.
Support for the larger payments is now bipartisan after President Donald Trump said last week that $600 per person was not enough. Fox News reported that democratic socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont intends to keep the Senate in its current session by filibustering until the chamber takes up the issue of the larger payments.
Tensions are running high this week as the Senate may also be looking to override Trump’s veto on the defense spending bill (the same bill Sanders has said he will filibuster), after the House opted to do so on Monday.
A report from Politico suggested Sanders might be partially motivated to take that route to keep Loeffler and Perdue off of the campaign trail before the Georgia runoffs on Jan. 5. If both senators lose their races, and if presumptive President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in later this month, the GOP will lose its Senate majority by virtue of presumptive Vice President-elect Kamala Harris being the potential tie-breaking vote.
But both Loeffler and Perdue signaled they were in agreement with Democrats, the president and several GOP colleagues on Tuesday. Their respective Democratic opponents, Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, both support the larger sum for Americans, according to Newsweek.
Loeffler and Warnock are neck and neck in the polls, as are Perdue and Ossoff, according to each race’s RealClearPolitics polling aggregate.
Perdue told Fox News on Tuesday he is in complete agreement with Trump on the issue of the $2,000 direct payments.
“I think with the vaccine coming, I think this is absolutely appropriate, so I fully support what the president’s doing right now,” he said.
Perdue also retweeted Trump and commented, “President @realdonaldtrump is right — I support this push for $2,000 in direct relief for the American people.”
President @realdonaldtrump is right — I support this push for $2,000 in direct relief for the American people. https://t.co/Al3USM7zPr
— David Perdue (@Perduesenate) December 29, 2020
lso on Tuesday, Loeffler took to social media to call for the larger payments for Americans.
“I agree with @realDonaldTrump — we need to deliver $2,000 direct relief checks to the American people,” she wrote.
I agree with @realDonaldTrump — we need to deliver $2,000 direct relief checks to the American people.
— Kelly Loeffler (@KLoeffler) December 29, 2020
Support to amend the relief bill to include $2,000 direct payments continues to grow among GOP senators.
Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida issued a statement on his website Monday calling for the $2,000 amount, and effectively asked his colleagues to suspend their concerns about the national debt.
“I share many of my colleagues’ concern about the long-term effects of additional spending, but we cannot ignore the fact that millions of working class families across the nation are still in dire need of relief,” he said.
“Congress should quickly pass legislation to increase direct payments to Americans to $2,000.”
Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri, who has long supported large direct payments, reiterated his support Tuesday for bolstering financial relief for Americans.
“Working Americans have borne the brunt of this pandemic. They’ve been hammered, through no fault of their own. They deserve $2000 in #covid relief — a fraction of what the banks & big business got. Let’s vote now,” Hawley tweeted.
Working Americans have borne the brunt of this pandemic. They’ve been hammered, through no fault of their own. They deserve $2000 in #covid relief – a fraction of what the banks & big business got. Let’s vote now
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) December 29, 2020
Trump first called for $600 payments to be increased last week after the sum was initially agreed upon by Congress.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 23, 2020
“I am asking Congress to amend this bill and increase the ridiculously low $600 to $2,000 or $4,000 for a couple,” he said. Trump referred to the $600 payments included in the bill as a “disgrace.”