Third stimulus checks: Are $2,000 payments still possible in 2021?

Coronavirus stimulus

The sun rises over the US Capitol on December 28, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — While a second $600 stimulus check is being distributed to many Americans, people are already asking about a potential third direct payment from the government in 2021.

President Donald Trump pushed for $2,000 payments as 2020 came to a close. The prospect was blocked by Republicans in the Senate and another payment is highly unlikely during Trump’s term. That has many people wondering if President-elect Joe Biden will push for additional direct stimulus relief when he takes office.

Based on what Biden’s said over the last few weeks, it looks likely there will be additional discussions about a third stimulus check. The amount? That’s definitely up for debate.

Biden referred to this most recent $600 check as a “down payment” and is hopeful more relief is on the way. When asked by a reporter if he’d push for additional direct payments and what the amount might be, he wasn’t ready to commit.

“Look, that’s a negotiating issue,” Biden said during a news conference before Christmas. “But it will, yes it will.”

Whether Biden can push through another payment may depend on what happens in Georgia on Tuesday. The two runoff races will determine control of the Senate. With Democrats set to hold the presidency and a slim majority in the U.S. House, Republicans in the Senate could potentially block Biden’s plans for additional aid.

The idea of increased direct payments wasn’t on the table until an eleventh-hour demand from Trump that an end-of-year spending bill — which congressional leaders spent months negotiating — gives most Americans $2,000 coronavirus relief checks, far more than the $600 members of his own party had agreed to.

The bipartisan compromise had been considered a done deal and had won sweeping approval in the House and Senate after the White House assured GOP leaders that Trump supported it. Trump eventually put aside his threats and signed the deal.

Trump’s $2,000 proposal received bipartisan support, including from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

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