Georgia’s GOP incumbent senators fighting to keep their seats in the special runoff find themselves in a tough position after President Trump’s eleventh-hour demands for Congress to approve $2,000 stimulus check payments in coronavirus aid.
Sen. Kelley Loeffler, in a tight race against Democratic candidate, Rev. Raphael Warnock, said she would consider voting for the new figure, which Democrats originally pushed in the stimulus package if it diverted funds away from "wasteful spending."
"I'll certainly look at supporting it if it repurposes wasteful spending toward that," she said, during a campaign event Wednesday, reported The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
In a Tuesday evening address from the White House, Trump condemned the latest coronavirus relief package passed with overwhelming bipartisan support. He called on Congress to send him a "suitable" bill with stimulus checks that more than double the $600 figure allotted by Congress earlier this week.
Following the president’s remarks Tuesday night, Democrats jumped at the opportunity to demand increased stimulus checks. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi tweeted, "Republicans repeatedly refused to say what amount the President wanted for direct checks. At last, the President has agreed to $2,000."
"Mr. President, sign the bill to keep government open! Urge McConnell and McCarthy to agree with the Democratic unanimous consent request for $2,000 direct payments," she added in a tweet Wednesday. "This can be done by noon on Christmas Eve!"
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., said she and fellow "squad" member Rep. Rashida Talib, D-Mich., already had co-written an amendment to the $900 billion relief package to increase funding directed for stimulus checks.
"I’m in. Whaddya say, Mitch?" Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said late Tuesday night. "Let’s not get bogged down with ideological offsets and unrelated items and just DO THIS! The American people deserve it."
Loeffler and her GOP colleague in the other "Peach State" runoff, Sen. David Perdue, voted in favor of the bill Monday, but their Democratic challengers Warnock and Jon Ossoff respectively called on both to back Trump’s calls for increased stimulus checks.
"As I’ve said from the start, the Senate should have acted on this months ago and support for Georgians should have been far greater," Warnock said Wednesday. "Donald Trump is right, Congress should swiftly increase direct payments to $2,000."
Trump has not said whether or not he will attempt to veto the latest coronavirus relief package, though Congress passed the measure with veto-proof bipartisan support.
It is unclear at this time how congressional Republicans will vote on the amendment to the coronavirus relief bill.