Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich says he wants to see a vote on legislation to boost direct payments to Americans to $2,000 before Tuesday, when there are two critical U.S. Senate runoff elections in Georgia.
Mr. Gingrich said he supports Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s strategy to combine the $2,000 checks with other items if the fallback is to take up a standalone bill on the direct payments.
“I don’t underestimate Mitch,” Mr. Gingrich, a former Georgia congressman, said Thursday on Fox Business Network. “My only fallback is, if that doesn’t work I really hope before Tuesday that he’s going to bring up a freestanding bill and get it through so it’s clear that the Republicans are not the ones blocking it.”
President Trump says he wants the bigger checks, as do GOP Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, who are on the ballot on Tuesday in Georgia.Mr. Gingrich said it would be to the advantage of the two senators if they get a chance to vote yes.
His comments came before Mr. Perdue’s campaign disclosed that the senator is self-quarantining after coming into close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.
Direct payments of up to $600 per person were included in a recent $900 billion coronavirus relief package that Mr. Trump signed into law.
The Democrat-led House passed a bill this week to increase the payments to $2,000. Mr. McConnell has blocked quick action on the measure in the Senate.
Mr. McConnell, Kentucky Republican, is pushing to combine the bigger checks with repealing certain protections for social media companies and setting up an election integrity commission – two other priorities for Mr. Trump.
Mr. McConnell objected to the House bill because it’s structured so that wealthy households are still eligible to receive payments.
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