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Democratic Senator Manchin doubts $ 2,000 direct funds and places the passage in danger

Senator Joe Manchin, D-W. Va., Visited in the Russell Building on Thursday, July 30, 2020.

Tom Williams | CQ Roll Call, Inc. | Getty Images

Democratic Senator Joe Manchin signaled on Friday that he could speak out against direct payments of US $ 2,000, thereby jeopardizing one of his party's priorities if it takes unified control of the White House and Congress.

The Washington Post initially quoted West Virginia lawmakers as saying they would "absolutely" disapprove of another coronavirus relief check on Americans. He later explained his comment in a tweet statement, saying, "When the next round of stimulus checks expires, they should be directed to those who need them."

Manchin, the most conservative Democrat in the Senate, questioned the cost of the proposal. The bipartisan Joint Tax Committee previously said an increase in payments in the State Aid Act passed last month from $ 600 to $ 2,000 would cost $ 463 billion.

His stance casts doubt on what kind of direct deposit plan could get through the Senate if the Democrats have a wafer-thin majority. The party will have control of a 50:50 chamber for the coming weeks following the January 20 inauguration and the swearing-in of Democratic-elected Senators Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff of Georgia.

Manchin's comments appeared to be causing a temporary decline in major stock indices on Friday.

President-elect Joe Biden and Democratic Congress leaders have called for trillions of dollars more in pandemic rescue spending as Americans struggle to pay bills and rent amid an ongoing virus outbreak. Biden called the $ 900 billion relief plan approved last month a "down payment." The urge for more assistance comes when the Labor Department reported that the US lost 140,000 jobs in December.

Biden, Warnock and Ossoff said the Democratic election in Georgia would mean the Senate could write $ 2,000 checks.

Republicans can ensure that most laws require 60 votes to pass. However, it is expected that Democrats will have three options to use the budget vote process, which will allow certain measures related to spending to be passed by majority vote.

Some people must not doom the passage of payments to failure. At least one Republican – Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri – backed $ 2,000 checks last month when President Donald Trump urged them. It is unclear whether or how the president's departure or the pro-Trump mob attack on the Capitol this week will affect GOP payments-related policies.

The House passed a bill last month to increase the checks in the relief bill from $ 600 to $ 2,000. Individuals earning up to $ 75,000 in 2019 would be given the full amount and gradually phased out until it hit a cap on an income of $ 115,000.

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