Joe Biden recently said that Americans would receive $2000 stimulus checks “immediately” if Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff won the Senate runoffs in Georgia. Now that both have won, will people get the relief payments they need?
The two Senate runoff elections in Georgia will result in two wins for democrats. Reverend Raphael Warnock — who becomes the state’s first Black senator and takes up a seat that carries with it a history of racist figures — and Jon Ossoff have won senate seats over Republicans Kelly Loeffler and incumbent David Perdue, respectively. This outcome will result in the Senate being a 50-50 tie, with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris serving as tiebreaker. This means that Democrats will be in control of the presidency, Senate, and House of Representatives for the first time since 2011. It’s also expected that Democratic New York senator Chuck Schumer will replace Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
With Americans still enduring the effects of COVID-19, people are wondering about the likelihood of a $2,000 stimulus check being passed now with a Democrat-led Senate. Both Warnock and Ossoff have advocated for $2,000 relief payments and used Donald Trump’s recent last-minute push for increasing assistance against their Republican opponents.
$2,000 relief payments for the people. pic.twitter.com/7pWDBi9yOE
— Jon Ossoff (@ossoff) December 23, 2020
“President Trump is, as ever, erratic and all over the place. But on this point, tonight, he’s right,” Ossoff said on CNN back in December. “Six-hundred dollars is a joke. They should send $2,000 checks to the American people right now because people are hurting.”
“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 added.
On Monday, President-elect Joe Biden said that the $2,000 stimulus checks would happen “immediately” if Georgia voted for both Warnock and Ossoff in the Senate runoffs, promising that “money will go out the door immediately to help people who are in real trouble.”
Relief payments worth $2,000 have been blocked four times by the Republican-controlled Senate. McConnell staunchly opposed the increase from $600 to $2,000, referring to the effort as “socialism for rich people.”
“Borrowing from our grandkids to do socialism for rich people is a terrible way to get help to families who actually need it,” McConnell said back in December. “Washington Democrats took President Trump’s suggestion and skewed it so the checks would benefit even more high-earning households.”
Biden’s plans for a third stimulus check that would be $2,000 are more possible now. Although a vote for an increase in relief assistance never made it to the Senate because of McConnell, $2,000 checks were supported in the House. Back in December, the CASH Act bill to increase the stimulus amount was passed, receiving 275 votes. Only two Democrats had voted against the increase: Rep. Daniel Lipinski from Illinois and Rep. Kurt Schrader from Oregon.
In terms of the Senate, Then-senator Harris has advocated for an increase. Democrats Bernie Sanders and Ed Markey have been advocating for $2,000 checks since May of last year. Recently, Sanders and Schumer had attempted to secure a vote on increasing the stimulus amount last Friday (January 1), but were blocked by senate Republicans. Sanders had also requested the Senate hold a vote on the House bill increasing stimulus checks to $2,000, but that was also blocked by Republicans. While making this push, Sanders found an ally in Republican Senate Josh Hawley of Missouri, who has also been pushing for $2000 checks.
Prior to it being confirmed that both Wernock and Ossoff had won the Senate runoffs, Schumer said that “One of the first things I want to do when our new senators are seated is deliver the $2000 checks to the American families,” during a news conference.
Sen. Chuck Schumer, just now: “One of the first things I want to do when our new senators are seated is deliver the $2000 checks to the American families.”pic.twitter.com/w4GdDWpyDP
— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) January 6, 2021
As the Washington Post has reported, the idea of $2000 checks becoming more of a reality amid Wernock and Ossoff’s wins “would likely be just the beginning of an ambitious agenda,” with Democrats seeking “to include the stimulus checks in a broader package with other priorities, such as additional funding for state and local governments and a more substantial expansion in federal unemployment benefits.” Per the Post:
Infrastructure spending, climate change legislation, expanding health care benefits, student debt forgiveness and more may also be on the table — although congressional aides cautioned that discussions with the Biden team were in the very early stages. With control of both chambers, Democrats can use special budget rules to push through massive legislation with a simple majority in the Senate, instead of the 60 votes usually required for major bills. That’s how Republicans enacted their $1.5 trillion tax cut bill in the first year of Trump’s presidency with no Democratic votes.
So, yes — $2,000 stimulus checks are more of a possibility than they’ve ever been at this point, and with Democrats in control of the House and Senate, people will be expecting Democrats to come through quickly with the relief assistance.