Republican Georgia Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue both came out in support of $2,000 coronavirus relief checks on Tuesday, potentially forcing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s hand just days ahead of the pivotal Senate runoff races.
With President Donald Trump pushing for the bigger checks despite Republican resistance, Loeffler was cornered into supporting the popular provision after the House passed a bill increasing the direct relief. “I’ve stood by the president 100 percent of the time, I’m proud to do that,” Loeffler told Fox News after being pressed on the matter. “I’ve said absolutely, we need to get relief to Americans now, and I will support that.”
Perdue quickly followed up, tweeting that Trump “is right” and that he supports “this push for $2,000 in direct relief.” Both Democratic Senate candidates in Georgia have openly supported increasing the checks from $600 to $2,000 and have made the issue a central focus heading into next week’s runoffs. At the same time, it should be noted that Perdue specifically opposed the first round of $1,200 relief checks and refused to answer questions about the $2,000 payments until Tuesday.
But, later on Tuesday, McConnell blocked an effort by Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to pass the House measure. It’s still unclear if McConnell would have the 12 Republicans necessary to pass the measure in the Senate. Meanwhile, Trump was golfing in Florida on Tuesday.