With Democrats set to control both chambers of Congress following Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff winning both Senate runoff elections in Georgia this week, the likelihood of American households receiving a third stimulus check has become more of a reality as Capitol Hill lawmakers have begun to ponder a $2,000 payout.
But with such a tenuous grip on the majority — the Senate will split evenly between Democrats and Republicans once Warnock and Ossoff are sworn in, with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris as the tie-breaking vote — any intraparty opposition could prove disastrous for Democrats, and one moderate is already proving to be a tough sell on a third check.
Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia said he would support more checks only if recipients are limited to those most in need, adding that vaccinations should take priority over checks.
“I don’t know where in the hell $2,000 came from,” Manchin told The Washington Post on Friday. “I swear to God I don’t. That’s another $400 billion.”
Americans began receiving $600 payments this week, but President-elect Biden says much more is needed and that he will act to provide additional economic relief when he rolls out another coronavirus stimulus plan next week.
“We need more direct relief flowing to families, small businesses, including finishing the job of getting people that $2,000 relief direct payment,” Biden said during a press conference Friday. “$600 is simply not enough.”
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who will be the majority leader once Warnock and Ossoff are sworn in, said Wednesday that “one of the first things” he wants to do once the new senators are seated is deliver $2,000 checks to American families.