Sens. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) and David Perdue (R-GA) on Tuesday indicated they would support President Donald Trump and congressional Democrats’ push to increase COVID-19 relief checks to $2,000 dollars.
But it’s still not clear whether the measure, an increase from the $600 checks President Donald Trump signed into law over the weekend, has the support necessary to pass the Republican-controlled Senate.
While the extra $1,400 remains in limbo, Trump had put the two Georgia Republicans, who are competing in a runoff election next week, in a pinch with his after-the-fact call for bigger relief checks.
Asked directly by Fox News’ Will Cain Tuesday morning whether she would support Trump’s call to increase the checks to $2,000, Loeffler answered in the affirmative … sort of.
“I’ve stood by the President 100 percent of the time, I’m proud to do that,” Loeffler said. “And I’ve said, absolutely, we need to get relief to Americans now, and I will support that.”
Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) seems to indicate she'll support increasing relief checks to $2,000: "I will support that." pic.twitter.com/HXekkGmeuo
— Matt Shuham (@mattshuham) December 29, 2020
She went on to blame Democrats for the delay in getting aid to Americans, but that distorts the legislative history.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) reportedly only acceded to $600 per-person checks in the funding package because of the runoff in Georgia.
Loeffler and Perdue will face Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff next week. Both Democrats have pushed for the $2,000 checks and called out their Republican opponents for not doing so.
Perdue, a couple hours after Loeffler’s appearance, added his own support in a tweet.
— David Perdue (@Perduesenate) December 29, 2020
Loeffler echoed the sentiment a few minutes later.
I agree with @realDonaldTrump — we need to deliver $2,000 direct relief checks to the American people.
— Kelly Loeffler (@KLoeffler) December 29, 2020
Before Trump signed the stimulus bill, Loeffler squirmed when asked if she would support an increase to $2,000 checks, only saying she would consider it “if it repurposes wasteful spending for that.”
And Perdue had kept quiet on the increase. Multiple outlets reported that he pleaded with Trump on Christmas to sign the stimulus bil. The Georgia Republican had already cut ads bragging about the deal featuring $600 checks — before Trump criticized it as a failure.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has said he’ll insist on a vote on the $2,000 checks before another vote to override the President’s veto on the annual defense funding package.
But passing the increase to $2,000 isn’t as simple as a majority vote: Sixty senators would be needed to overcome a filibuster on the legislation — which passed the House with two-thirds support Monday — and so far, that’s not the case.
According to CNN’s count, only four Republicans support the increased checks — including Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Josh Hawley (R-MO) in addition to Loeffler and Perdue — out of 12 total Republicans that would need to join a united Democratic caucus.
12 Rs would need to join Ds to pass.
Now how, exactly, any $2k legislation comes to the floor (or if it does at all), remains an open question https://t.co/mJy3bvUmxN
— Phil Mattingly (@Phil_Mattingly) December 29, 2020
McConnell could also combine a vote on the increased checks with a less palatable measure, like repealing Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act — a pet peeve of Trump’s that protects web operators from liability for what users post.
Republicans senators will have to weigh whether they want to vote against a lame-duck President — albeit a popular one among their Republican base — or vote for the larger stimulus checks they’ve long opposed.