Momentum is building in Congress to give taxpayers a $2000 stimulus check recommended by Donald Trump and Democrats are embracing it.
And in Georgia, the two Democratic candidates, Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, are hammering their GOP opponents with the issue. The pandemic relief bill has become a big deal in the campaign to control the Senate and both Republicans are behind the curve.
Even worse, both Republicans issued statements congratulating themselves for passing the stimulus bill that Trump now says he won’t sign.
Ossoff issued a video on Twitter skewering Perdue and backing the $2000 stimulus bill.
$2,000 relief payments for the people. pic.twitter.com/7pWDBi9yOE
— Jon Ossoff (@ossoff) December 23, 2020
“David Perdue, my opponent, who opposed even the first round of $1,200 checks… has obstructed direct relief for the last eight months, and now decided he wanted to cut it down to 600 bucks when people can barely feed their families through no fault of their own,” Ossoff said.
“Billionaire @KLoeffler thinks $600 will cover your rent, groceries, and hospital bills,” Warnock tweeted Tuesday night after Trump released his video.
There is a danger for the Republicans this close to the January 5 runoff election. After cutting both candidates off at the knees by refusing to sign the original pandemic relief bill, Trump now will put them on the spot by forcing them to agree with their Democratic rivals. In this kind of bidding war, you don’t get points for being second.
House Democrats, who hold a majority in the chamber, will seek to pass a measure for $2,000 direct payments by unanimous consent Thursday, Christmas Eve, according to a senior Democratic aide. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer did not specify the day, but said in a tweet that the vote would happen this week. The House will be in a pro forma session, and it will only take one lawmaker to prevent its passage.
It remains to be seen whether larger direct payments would pass in the Senate, where several Republicans have resisted bigger stimulus payments.
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said on Twitter Wednesday morning, “I support President @realDonaldTrump’s demand to increase direct payments for long-suffering Americans to $2,000 per person… Let’s vote.”
Another person in a difficult spot is Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader. McConnell may find himself in a position where he has to ask the Democrats for help in passing a new pandemic relief bill. Democrats who support it might outnumber Republicans.
And if you open up the bill to expand the individual stimulus, some Republicans may take aim at the more objectionable sections of the bill and blow the whole thing up. McConnell’s ability to hold his majority together will be severely tested.
The Democratic leadership is fully on board the proposal to increase the amount of the stimulus checks.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) responded to the commander-in-chief’s Tuesday night Twitter video where he outlined his demands with an eager, “Let’s do it!”
“Republicans repeatedly refused to say what amount the President wanted for direct checks. At last, the President has agreed to $2,000 — Democrats are ready to bring this to the Floor this week by unanimous consent,” she wrote on the social media platform.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer couldn’t resist blaming Republicans for the Democrats playing politics with relief.
“We spent months trying to secure $2000 checks but Republicans blocked it,” the New York Democrat tweeted. “Trump needs to sign the bill to help people and keep the government open and we’re glad to pass more aid Americans need.”
Trump’s suggestion to increase the stimulus checks actually makes it less likely that Democrats will immediately try to pass their own pandemic relief bill early next year. But he’s further endangered the Republican control of the Senate and may have handed the Democrats a winning issue in Georgia.