The third round of stimulus checks may soon be on the way, as Senate Democrat Leader Chuck Schumer has promised the quick delivery of $2,000 payments will get done. According to Fox News — Schumer wrote in a letter to his colleagues that "the job of COVID emergency relief is far from complete," stressing how "Democrats wanted to do much more in the last bill and promised to do more, if given the opportunity, to increase direct payments to a total of $2,000 — we will get that done."
Notably, most GOP leaders have been against the idea of increasing stimulus payment amounts, which has led to a breakdown in stimulus negotiations in the past. However, with the 2020 elections, Democrats retained control of the House and gained the White House, with President-elect Joe Biden being certified as the winner. Then, in special run-off elections in Georgia, Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock each won their respective races against Republican incumbents, giving Democrats control of the Senate. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will have the tie-breaking vote on any legislation that ends in a 50-50 split.
"If you send Jon and the Reverend to Washington, those $2,000 checks will go out the door," Biden told Georgia voters on the eve of the special elections, claiming that wins for the Democrats would mean moving a step closer to more stimulus payments. "And if you send Sens. Perdue and Loeffler back to Washington, those checks will never get there. It's just that simple. The power is literally in your hands."
Surprisingly, one lawmaker who could be a blockade for the $2,000 payments is West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin. Having served as Senator for the past decade, Manchin recently told The Washington Post that he would "absolutely not" support the notion of sending a round of stimulus payments in that amount. He later seemed to take a less rigid stance, telling CNN's Jake Tapper, "That’s not a yes or no question. How is the money that we invest now going to help us best to get jobs back and get people employed?" I can’t tell you that sending another check out is gonna do that to a person that’s already got a check."
With the Senate split 50-50, the Democrats cannot afford to lose even one vote, so if there is chance that Manchin will not support the plan, citizens could be looking at another lengthy process of negotiations that delay money that could be used to pay rent and put food on the table. While Manchin's stance certainly proposes an uncertain reality for those financially struggling through the coronavirus pandemic, a spokesperson for the senator told Politico that he is not opposed to more stimulus payments. Still, he would like to see COVID-19 vaccinations be the main priority.