Sen. Kelly Loeffler will consider President Trump’s call for Congress to amend the $900 billion COVID-19 relief bill to increase direct payments to eligible Americans from $600 to $2,000 — if it “repurposes wasteful spending.”
Loeffler (R-Ga.), who is in the fight of her political life in a race that will help decide which party controls the Senate — and has previously said $600 was sufficient — made the comment while speaking to reporters Wednesday at a campaign event with black business owners.
Asked about the commander-in-chief’s call for the amount to be raised, the Trump ally replied that she supports “redirecting any wasteful spending to be very targeted at families and businesses who have been impacted by this virus through no fault of their own.”
Pressed further on whether that meant she would back increasing the direct payments, she answered: “I’ll certainly look at supporting it if it repurposes wasteful spending toward that, yes.”
All eyes have focused on two Senate battles in Georgia, both with GOP incumbents. The current balance of the Senate is 50 Republicans and 48 Democrats, meaning that whichever way these two seats go will decide which party controls the upper chamber of Congress.
If Democrats were to win both seats in the Jan. 5 runoffs and keep the body evenly split, tie votes would be broken by the vice president, Kamala Harris, thus giving Democrats a single-vote majority.
Loeffler and Sen. David Perdue, the other GOP senator fighting for his political survival, had spent weeks touting their support for the bipartisan package and $600 checks in campaign ads and stump speeches across the state, before Trump changed his position.
The two had also attacked their respective Democratic opponents for arguing that $600 checks were insufficient.
A Loeffler spokesman did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for further comment.
On Tuesday night, Trump called the bipartisan relief bill a “disgrace” and told congressional lawmakers to amend the bill and “increase the ridiculously low $600 to $2,000 or $4,000 for a couple,” while suggesting he would torpedo it if the changes weren’t made.
The coronavirus relief bill, the subject of months of negotiations between party leaders and the White House, was packaged together with a $1.4 trillion measure to keep the government open until September.
The deadline to avert a government shutdown is Dec. 29.
But the sprawling, 5,585-page relief bill is still being prepared by Congress, where lawmakers have decried the lack of time they have to assess the legislation.