More coronavirus relief may soon be on its way to your bank account after Tuesday’s Georgia Senate election.
The Democratic Party will kick off 2021 with a government trifecta. After the inauguration on Jan. 20, President-elect Joe Biden will be in the White House, and Democrats will control both chambers of Congress. In theory, that means any proposal with widespread party support can become law with relative ease.
Yes, we’re talking about those controversial $2,000 stimulus checks.
The IRS is in the middle of sending out a second round of direct payments for $600 — a figure many, including current President Donald Trump, declared to be insufficient 10 months into a pandemic. Last week, the House passed a proposal that would have increased stimulus checks to $2,000 per person. However, the Senate, led by Republican Mitch McConnell, declined to vote on it. The session then ended.
Only a few days have passed, but the situation has changed, and a third round of direct payments now seems likely. Here’s what you need to know about how the Georgia election and Democratic trifecta may affect your stimulus check.
Biden supports $2,000 stimulus checks — and wants them ‘out the door’
At a Monday campaign event in Georgia, Biden backed the $2,000 number in a new round of stimulus checks. He also appeared to promise the government would move quickly to distribute direct payments if the Senate went blue.
“The debate over $2,000 isn’t some abstract debate in Washington. It’s about real lives, your lives,” Biden said. “If you’re like millions of Americans all across this country, you need the money, you need the help, and you need it now.”
He continued: “If you send Jon [Ossoff] and the Rev. [Raphael Warnock] to Washington, those $2,000 checks will go out the door, restoring hope and decency and honor for so many people who are struggling right now.”
The Georgia election results were just finalized
On Wednesday, the Associated Press called the election for Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, who beat out Republicans Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue. (Worth noting: Georgia allows for a recount if the margin is 0.5% or less.)
The Senate is now split, with 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans. Because Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will break any ties, the Democrats have the majority.
The House has 222 Democrats, 211 Republicans and two vacancies.
$2,000 stimulus checks are pretty popular
The $2,000 payments have become a rallying cry in recent weeks. Though McConnell labeled the checks as “socialism for rich people,” lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have called for the newly sworn in 117th Congress to take up the issue ASAP.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., tweeted Friday that “a $2k direct payment for individuals and families who are struggling is not socialism … in my view it is necessary in the times in which we live.” Earlier this week, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., wrote, “New Congress. Same struggle. Increase direct payment checks to $2000 per person.” (The now-expired proposal the House approved last week — the CASH Act — also would have made dependents eligible for $2,000.)
That seemed more of a possibility than ever in light of the Georgia results. Former presidential candidate Andrew Yang tweeted late Tuesday that “we won both seats,” adding “the first order of business should be getting $2000 cash relief checks out to everyone!”
Even so, given the nature of U.S. politics, it’s far from a done deal. Stay tuned for updates.
This story has been updated to include the AP’s race call for Ossoff.