KEY POINTS

  • Neal believes future bills on direct payments depend on the results of Georgia's Senate election
  • Biden urges Americans to vote for Ossof and Warnock
  • Democrats will have control over Congress if both candidates win

Increasing the amount of stimulus checks to $2,000 from $600 may be influenced by the result of Tuesday’s Senate runoffs in Georgia, top Democratic lawmakers said. 

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, D-MA, on Sunday told reporters that future legislation on personal checks would likely depend on the results of the Senate election in Georgia. 

“I think it's more contingent upon what happens on Jan. 5,” Neal said

President-elect Joe Biden on Monday echoed Neal’s statement and said electing Democrats Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock would likely lead to the passing of a bill that would increase the size of direct payments to $2,000. 

"If you send Jon and the Reverend to Washington, those $2,000 checks will go out the door, restoring hope and decency and honor for so many people who are struggling right now. And if you send (Republican Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler) back to Washington, those checks will never get there,” Biden said during a campaign event in Atlanta. 

If Ossof and Warnock win both runoffs in Georgia, the U.S. Senate would have 50 Republicans and 50 Democrats. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris would act as a tie-breaking vote, giving Democrats control over Congress and increasing the chances that new stimulus bills pass.

“And if you vote for Jon and the Reverend, that's what you're going to get: decent, honorable men,” Biden said. “They won't put a president or party first, and they sure won't put themselves first. They know public service is about you, it isn't about them, it's not about enriching themselves, it's about making people's lives better.”

The president-elect’s assertions come after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked the Democrat’s effort to increase the size of direct payments. He also accused Democrats of hustling money. 

"A huge chunk would essentially be socialism for rich people," the Kentucky Republican said on Dec. 29. 

McConnell later introduced a bill that would boost the size of the stimulus checks, repeal legal liability protection for tech companies and create a commission to review allegations of widespread election fraud.  Democratic Senate candidates Jon Ossoff (L) and Rev. Raphael Warnock (R) bump elbows at a rally in Duluth, Georgia Democratic Senate candidates Jon Ossoff (L) and Rev. Raphael Warnock (R) bump elbows at a rally in Duluth, Georgia Photo: AFP / Elijah Nouvelage