Georgia Republicans Join Trump in Push for $2,000 Checks

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Georgia’s two Republican senators now say they’ll support President Donald Trump’s push to increase stimulus payments to $2,000, breaking with most of their party just days before their re-election races.

Senator David Perdue said Tuesday that Trump is right to demand more than the $600 payments to individuals included in the round of virus relief signed into law Dec. 27. Perdue’s opponent in the Jan. 5 runoff race, Democrat Jon Ossoff, has been criticizing the incumbent senator for not embracing the proposal for larger payments.

Trump put Georgia’s two GOP senators in a difficult position as Republicans were trying to show a unified face before the runoffs that will decide control of the Senate. Most Republican senators have resisted calls for direct stimulus payments, arguing that there are more targeted -- and less costly -- ways to get relief to Americans who have lost income as a result of the pandemic.

Democrats have seized on Trump’s demand for larger stimulus payments. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer plans to ask the GOP-led Senate for unanimous support to pass the House bill to replace the $600 in the most recent round of virus relief with $2,000. That effort is likely to be blocked by a Republican.

That measure cleared the House Monday on a 275-134 vote, with a large bipartisan majority.

In Atlanta earlier Tuesday, Ossoff called on Perdue to “step up and support $2,000 relief check” amount because “people are hurting through no fault of their own.” The Democratic candidate said $600 was insufficient to help people get through the economic impact of the virus-related lockdowns.

Ossoff also called attention to the profitable stock trades Perdue made at the beginning of the pandemic, before most Americans were aware of the potential risks from the coronavirus.

Georgia Senator Kelly Loeffler said earlier Tuesday that she also backs sending out more stimulus money. She will face Democrat Raphael Warnock in her runoff race next week.

“I’ve said absolutely we need to get relief to Americans now and I will support that,” Loeffler said on “Fox and Friends.” She earlier said she would consider larger stimulus payments if other spending cuts were made.

It will now be up to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has resisted calls for larger checks, to allow a vote on the House bill, introduce different legislation to increase the payments or ignore the issue in the final days of this Congress.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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