$2,000 stimulus checks back in play after Democrats sweep Georgia Senate runoffs
The $ 2,000 stimulus checks blocked by the Republican-controlled Senate in December are gaining momentum after the Democrats win the two Senate seats in Georgia and will control the chamber.
"One of the first things I want to do when our new Senators sit down is hand over the $ 2,000 checks to the American families," said Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Senate minority chairman who will soon be majority leader will press conference on Wednesday.
The $ 2,000 direct payments would be an increase over the $ 600 direct payments currently distributed, meaning eligible Americans would potentially receive an additional $ 1,400 (plus an additional $ 1,400 per dependent) based on what was passed by Parliament at the end of December adopted laws.
Read More: Everything You Need To Know About The Second Stimulus Payment
The two Democratic candidates Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock supported and campaigned for the $ 2,000 checks. President-elect Joe Biden, who supported the Georgia candidates Monday, said, "Your election will end the bloc in Washington."
"That $ 2,000 stimulus check, that money would go straight out the door to help people who are in real trouble," Biden said. "Think what it will mean for your life, put food on the table and pay rent."
President-elect Joe Biden knocks his elbow against Georgia Democratic Senate candidate Jon Ossoff while speaking on behalf of Ossoff and Raphael Warnock during a car campaign in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, ahead of their January 5 runoff elections fights, January 4, 2021. REUTERS / Jonathan Ernst
Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who introduced the $ 2,000 direct payments rule and twice moved a Senate vote - with both attempts blocked by the GOP for a vote - also welcomed the Georgia results.
"Promises have to be kept," tweeted Sanders on Wednesday. "That means not only paying $ 2,000 straight, but an aggressive agenda that recognizes the economic desperation so many Americans face."
Read more: This means the new coronavirus stimulus offering for your wallet
The slim majority that the Senate Democrats would have would allow them to put stimulus laws to the vote, but they would still need 60 votes - as a filibuster is likely - to pass such laws, which means that 10 Republicans have to register.
"It definitely makes it a lot easier to get at least one stimulus bill in the Senate," Mark Harkins, a former congressional staff member and senior fellow at the Government Affairs Institute in Georgetown, told Yahoo Money. "Majority Leader McConnell seemed to be the main obstacle to that."
"A precarious balancing act"
President Trump called for the stimulus check amount to be increased from $ 600 to $ 2,000 in December, with the $ 900 billion stimulus deal on hold for three days before it was legally signed. That same month, the House overwhelmingly passed legislation to increase the direct payments in the original bill to $ 2,000.
While Democratic leaders are loudly in favor of more stimulus checks, they haven't yet said whether they will try to incorporate the provision into a larger stimulus deal or pass it as separate legislation.
“The trouble is, it's not just the $ 2,000 [checks], it's a certain amount of money, in addition to the incentive. There were a lot of other things that the Democrats left out, ”Harkins said. "There is still a precarious balancing act that an alleged leader, Schumer, would have to work through to get a bill through."
Stand-alone incentive review legislation could be easier to get the Senate through and get the 60 required votes, with numerous Republican Senators backing the provision. But Democrats may want to add aid to state and local governments in the next potential bailout bill after compromising the provision and banning it from the recent economic agreement.
However, a bill with a higher price and such provisions could mean less support from the Republican legislature. The GOP previously referred to state and local aid as a "bailout for the blue state," but that could change when bill comes before them, Harkins said.
"That was a great topic of conversation to keep it off the ground," he said. "But as soon as there is actually a vote and the senators have to explain why the Senators of the Republican Party refuse to help their states, it will be more difficult."
Denitsa is a writer for Yahoo Finance and Cashay, a new personal finance website. Follow her on Twitter @denitsa_tsekova.
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