Jan 8, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Manchin says he will "absolutely not" support $2,000 stimulus checks as first priority

Joe Manchin
Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) told the Washington Post Friday that he would "absolutely not" support passing a round of $2,000 stimulus checks as a first priority, a key component of President-elect Joe Biden's economic revival plans.

The latest: A spokesperson clarified Manchin's comments after the Post story published Friday, saying the senator is not drawing a red line against $2,000 checks — only that it should be the first priority, as Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer has stated.

Why it matters: Senators-elect Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock's victories in Georgia's runoff elections on Tuesday clinched a narrow 50-50 majority for Democrats in the Senate, with Vice President-elect Harris acting as a tiebreaker. Moderate senators like Manchin will serve as the chamber's new power center on close votes.

  • Manchin was the only Democratic senator to vote yes on confirming Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
  • The West Virginian has also voted with Trump more than any other Democrat in the Senate, the New York Times notes.

What they're saying: “Absolutely not. No. Getting people vaccinated, that’s job No. 1,” Manchin told the Post when asked if he would support $2,000 checks as the new Senate's first priority.

  • “How is the money that we invest now going to help us best to get jobs back and get people employed? And I can’t tell you that sending another check out is gonna do that to a person that’s already got a check."

The big picture: The House passed a measure to boost stimulus checks from $600 to $2,000 per person in December, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked it from receiving a vote in the Senate.

Yes, but: Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) has been championing the push alongside Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) to increase the size of stimulus checks, an effort also endorsed by President Trump. Republican support could give the measure the majority it needs to pass the Senate.

Go deeper: Schumer says first priority in new Senate is $2,000 stimulus checks

Editor's note: This story has been updated with a spokesperson's clarification.

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