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Biden says $2,000 checks to 'go out the door immediately' if Democrats win in Georgia

The (Raleigh) News & Observer logo The (Raleigh) News & Observer 1/5/2021 Bailey Aldridge, The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.)

Jan. 5—President-elect Joe Biden said Americans will get $2,000 stimulus checks if Democrats win both Georgia runoffs.

During a Monday rally in Atlanta, Biden said the payments would "go out the door immediately" if Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock win the state's U.S. Senate seats, saying their victories would "put an end to the block in Washington" on approving the $2,000 payments.

Runoffs for Georgia's two U.S. Senate races are being held Tuesday after none of the candidates won a majority of the vote in the Nov. 3 election as required by state law. First-term Republican Sen. David Perdue faces Ossoff for one seat, and first-term Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler faces Warnock for the other.

Republicans have 50 seats and Democrats have 48 in the Senate with the two Georgia seats yet to be decided. If Democrats win both races, they will control the chamber as Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will serve as a tie breaker. Republicans only need to win one seat to maintain control. Democrats hold a narrow majority in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Any possibility of $2,000 payments depends on the 117th Congress, which was sworn in Sunday, after the Senate adjourned last week without voting on the increase.

The $900 billion coronavirus relief package signed into law in December included $600 direct payments to most Americans, half the size of the checks sent out under the $2.2 trillion CARES Act, which passed in March.

President Donald Trump demanded that the payments be increased to $2,000, initially refusing to sign the package passed by Congress. Democratic lawmakers supported the larger checks, but the increase faced opposition from some Republican lawmakers expressing concern about the bill's price tag.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell initially blocked Democrats' proposal for increasing the checks and later combined the increase with some of Trump's other demands opposed by Democrats.

"Think about what it'll mean to your lives," Biden said of the $2,000 payments Monday, "putting food on the table, paying rent, paying your mortgage, paying down the credit card, paying the phone bill, the gas bill, the electric bill. Just look around, millions of people in this country out of work through no fault of their own."

Ossoff and Warnock have both promised to support $2,000 checks if elected.

An increasing number of Republicans, including Perdue and Loeffler, have also expressed their support for the larger payments.

"I've stood by the president 100% of the time," Loeffler previously said during a Fox News interview. "I'm proud to do that and I've said, absolutely, we need to get relief to Americans now and I will support that."

Trump has also visited Georgia to campaign for Loeffler and Perdue. But during a Monday rally, his speech largely focused on Vice President Mike Pence's role in certifying the 2020 presidential election results, saying he hopes he'll "come through for us," CNN reports. The rally came amid Republican concerns that the president's false claims on election fraud could hurt GOP voter turnout in the runoffs.

Biden said during his Monday rally that the $2,000 checks aren't about "some abstract debate in Washington."

"It's about real lives, your lives, the lives of good, hard-working Americans," he said. "And if you're like millions of Americans all across this country, you need the money, you need the help, and you need it now."

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