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Schumer says $2K checks will be top priority of Democratic-controlled Senate

Senate Democratic Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerCapitol insurrection fallout: A PATRIOT Act 2.0? Schumer calls for DOJ watchdog to probe alleged Trump effort to oust acting AG Student loan forgiveness would be windfall for dentists, doctors and lawyers MORE (D-N.Y.) said on Wednesday that passing legislation to provide $2,000 stimulus checks will be one of the first orders of business once Democrats take control of the chamber on Jan. 20.

"One of the first things I want to do ... is deliver the $2,000 checks to the American families," Schumer told reporters during his first press conference after Tuesday's runoffs elections in Georgia that put Democrats on track to regain control of the Senate for the first time since 2014.

The Senate appears headed to a 50-50 split, with Vice President-elect Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisBiden talks NATO, climate change in first presidential call with France's Macron Biden must wait weekend for State Department pick Senators introduce bill to award Officer Goodman the Congressional Gold Medal MORE poised to cast any tie-breaking votes.

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Schumer declined to provide any details on how he would try to pass legislation for the $2,000 checks, such as whether it would be a stand-alone bill, part of a broader coronavirus relief package or the first measure called up for a vote.

Spokespeople for Schumer didn't immediately respond to a question about whether the leader wants to increase the stimulus checks under the latest stimulus deal from $600 to $2,000, or if the legislation he will offer would be for new checks in the amount of $2,000.

Unless Democrats are going to try to pass the checks through reconciliation — a budget maneuver that allows them to avoid a 60-vote procedural hurdle — they will need support from at least 10 Republicans in order to pass a bill providing additional direct payments.

The pledge by Schumer comes after Senate Republicans blocked multiple attempts to boost the amount of the stimulus payments included in the $2.3 trillion deal that funded the government and provided a new round of coronavirus relief.

The idea of increasing the checks has support from several GOP senators but it has also drawn fierce backlash from much of the caucus over concerns about spending or that the money does not go to those most directly affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBiden attends first church service as president in DC, stops at local bagel shop Harry Reid 'not particularly optimistic' Biden will push to eliminate filibuster Senators spar over validity of Trump impeachment trial MORE (R-Ky.) earlier this month addressed the issue by referencing Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiBiden attends first church service as president in DC, stops at local bagel shop More hands needed on the nuclear football Sunday shows preview: All eyes on Biden administration to tackle coronavirus MORE (D-Calif.) and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersBoycott sham impeachment Sunday shows - Biden agenda, Trump impeachment trial dominate Sanders: Senate may use budget reconciliation to pass Biden agenda MORE (I-Vt.).

"While this huge new aid package takes effect, a bipartisan caucus in both chambers is not keen to let Speaker Pelosi and Senator Sanders to have universal cash giveaways regardless of needs," McConnell said on the Senate floor.