Will a $2,000 Stimulus Check Be the First Priority of the New Congress?

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A check could be on the way sooner than you think.

Millions of Americans have begun to receive an additional round of coronavirus stimulus money in their bank accounts in recent days. A $900 billion relief bill authorized these payments, up to $600 per adult and dependent child, and the Treasury is in the process of delivering them.

However, even as these payments are being sent out, many on the left (and some on the right) do not believe they are sufficient to meet the needs of struggling individuals and families as the coronavirus pandemic drags on.

As a result, there's a very real possibility that one of the first pieces of legislation the next Congress passes will be a bill authorizing $2,000 stimulus checks.

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Key party leaders say $2,000 stimulus checks are a top priority

After the results of a Senate runoff election in Georgia, Democrats will be in control of both the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives during the next Congress.

That's very good news for those hoping for $2,000 checks because Senator Chuck Schumer recently indicated passing a bill authorizing them is at the top of his to-do list. Schumer is currently the Senate Minority Leader but will become the Majority Leader, replacing Mitch McConnell in that role.

Schumer has made his intentions clear, saying on Wednesday, "One of the first things I want to do when our new senators are seated is deliver $2,000 checks to the American families." Schumer indicated that "Senate Democrats know Americans are hurting," and went on to say, "Help is on the way."

Schumer isn't the only powerful Democrat who believes these larger checks are necessary. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has also embraced them, and the Democrat-controlled House passed a bill that would have increased the amount of the recent stimulus checks from $600 to $2,000 -- had the Senate approved it and the president signed it.

Progressive leaders including Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have also voiced their support of sizable checks, with Bernie Sanders tweeting on Wednesday: "With Democrats in control of the Senate, we must keep faith with the working families of this country. Promises made must be kept. That means not only the $2,000 direct payment, but an aggressive agenda that recognizes the economic desperation facing so many Americans."

Democrats are likely to seize on this issue as a policy priority, not only because they believe it is important to the American public, but also because they have some leverage to pressure Republicans to support the $2,000 payments as those checks were first proposed by President Donald Trump. While many Republicans have objected to such large payments, they have received some support by a minority of congressional Republicans as well, including Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO).

A bill providing $2,000 checks would need to get 60 votes to overcome a Senate filibuster, however, or would need to be passed using a procedural move called reconciliation that allows legislation to pass with a bare majority. Speaker Pelosi has hinted that Democrats may use reconciliation to deliver on stimulus promises, although there is a limit to the number of times reconciliation can be used, and there are many issues Democrats will likely want to address in a bill.

Still, with the left taking control of the Senate and House, and so many Democrats speaking out in favor of quickly providing $2,000 stimulus payments, checks will likely be a priority for the new Congress. Hopefully you could see a large deposit in your bank account sooner rather than later.

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