On Friday, Trump called the Republican-controlled Senate “pathetic” for failing to meet the $ 2,000 stimulus checks and other demands he wanted to make after the Senate decided to veto the 741 – Repeal Billion Dollar Defense Policy Act.
“Now they want to give the people ravaged by the China virus $ 600 instead of the $ 2,000 they desperately need,” tweeted Trump, referring to the Senate Republicans. “Not fair or wise!”
Indeed, Democratic challengers Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff have boosted the president’s call to increase pandemic aid payments by $ 1,400. This makes a key final argument for them – especially after the Senate Republicans blocked a standalone bill to add value to the checks.
“If David Perdue was serious about supporting $ 2,000 checks for the people, he would be putting maximum pressure on Mitch McConnell to pass this legislation now,” Ossoff told reporters on Thursday after an early morning New Year’s rally.
Warnock, who camped an hour south of Atlanta on Friday, echoed Trump’s criticism of the GOP leaders, calling it “shameful”.
“We should have brought some relief months ago. This is what happens when politics revolves around politicians, ”Warnock said. “This is a lot of maneuver between politicians. And they live a kind of privilege that enables them to do so. “
Democrats believe their best attempt at getting Biden in more money for coronavirus aid with Biden will depend on the party that controls the Senate as GOP leaders have not yet committed to another round of funding. Ossoff and Warnock have focused on measures to alleviate coronavirus, and Trump’s plea – along with Mitch McConnell’s opposition to the idea – has put Loeffler and Perdue in a difficult position.
Senate Democrats kept the chamber in session until New Year’s Day as they delayed efforts to override Trump’s veto on the annual defense bill and gave them a platform to highlight the issue a few days before the runoff election – as well as McConnell’s opposition to the bloat the checks.
“[Americans] I will know that Leader McConnell and the Republican majority prevented them from getting the checks, plain and simple, ”said Senate Minority Chairman Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) Friday.
Some Republicans are concerned that these attacks are breaking through. A GOP agent granted anonymity to openly assess the matter said some in the GOP “failed to realize that every single Democratic ad is about Republicans defying direct controls.”
Loeffler and Perdue said earlier this week they supported increasing the payment by $ 2,000 after Trump urged it and the Democrats used it as a wedge isue in the two races. They also accused House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi of rejecting Republican offers to fight coronavirus in the run-up to the presidential election.
Other Republicans don’t think the problem is harming the campaigns, especially since Trump doesn’t attack Loeffler and Perdue directly. In contrast, Trump on Friday called on South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem to present a primary challenge against Senator John Thune, the No. 2 Republican of the Senate. And with 3 million votes already cast in the state’s early term, little can be done to convince voters at this late stage, say Republicans, rather than focusing on ending the voting events in the last few days . According to a person familiar with the discussion, Loeffler spoke to Trump on Friday to reiterate support for the controls.
Some Republicans argue that the topic is still not resonating at this point, with millions of votes cast earlier and more than $ 500 million spent on defining the race. Liam Donovan, a Republican strategist who has been pursuing the relief laws, said the controls would be a “trending culprit” for guilt if Republicans fell on Tuesday, but doubted that it actually had much of an impact this late in the game.
“Whatever the downside risk, the idea that this race would be a blast for the GOP if they bite the half-trillion dollar bullet and passed bigger checks is highly questionable,” Donovan said. “The Democrats have done an impressive job casting their vote. Republicans have to do the same now, and it doesn’t depend on the size of the stimulus. “
Despite the President and Democrats calling for an increase in direct payments, neither Loeffler nor Perdue have called for a standalone vote on the measures as the Senate Democrats in Washington sought a return. Instead, the senators combine their support with Trump’s independent calls for an election fraud investigation and the lifting of a legal shield for social media companies.
“For all three, I’m with the president all the way,” Perdue said at a campaign rally earlier this week. Even if the measure had been put to the vote at the last minute, he would not be able to support it as he is in quarantine after coming into close contact with someone who tested positive for Covid-19.
Loeffler said in an interview on Thursday she supported the checks but didn’t say they should get a standalone vote in the chamber. She reiterated McConnell’s objection to the legislation as money for higher earners who didn’t need it.
“Of course I support these controls,” said Loeffler. “And [Pelosi] Recently, for example, income levels have increased. What we don’t have to do is save their blue millionaires. ”
Republicans believed they blunted Ossoff and Warnock’s criticism of their Covid-19 measures after Trump signed the $ 900 billion coronavirus relief effort on Sunday, featured in Perdue and Loeffler’s campaign ads, before it even went got his signature. The campaigns were relieved when Trump finally signed the bill after initially proposing to veto over believing the $ 600 stimulus check was too low in value.
Privately, some Republicans say they want Trump to cut it out because they believe its broadsides will hurt Loeffler and Perdue if the party holds on to the Senate majority. But they don’t say that in public.
“The president’s continued broadside against the Senate Republicans while maintaining the majority in balance is one of the unhelpful things he did during his presidency,” said a GOP strategist.