President Trump's insistence on increasing stimulus payments to $2,000 per person was swiftly endorsed by the Democratic candidates in Georgia's Senate runoffs. But it's put the Republicans in a quandary. Asked if she supported the idea, Sen. Kelly Loeffler said she'll think about it. "I'll certainly look at supporting it if it repurposes wasteful spending toward that, yes," she said. Her fellow Republican, Sen. David Perdue, hasn't mentioned the issue publicly. They don't have much time to decide. The government could shut down Monday if Trump doesn't sign the coronavirus relief bill, which also has funding to keep the machinery going, in time. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell acknowledged the effect of the issue on the race last week, when he told Republicans the Georgia senators were getting "hammered" over the lack of checks.
The two Democrats running didn't hesitate. "Donald Trump is right, Congress should swiftly increase direct payments to $2,000," the Rev. Raphael Warnock said. Jon Ossoff, who's up against Perdue, said the $600 checks in the current bill are "a joke" and urged Congress to approve the increase. A former state Republican chairman says this should work for Loeffler and Perdue, per the Hill. "As a political move, it is excellent timing," he said, adding that "it would be a very popular move for working families." Polls show the races, which will determine which party rules the Senate, are tight. One taken this week shows Perdue leading Ossoff by 1 percentage point, per WAGA, and Warnock up by 2 points over Loeffler. The RealClearPolitics average has Perdue with a 1-point lead over Ossoff, with Loeffler over Warnock by less than a half-point. (Read more economic stimulus package stories.)