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Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin sidestepped a question on Sunday about whether he would support a second round of $2,000 coronavirus relief checks that President-elect Joe Biden said he would pursue once he enters the White House.
“That’s not a yes or no question,” the West Virginia lawmaker said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “I’m on board by helping people that need help, people that really can’t make it, people that don’t have a job — they can’t put food on the table.”
The moderate Manchin could provide the pivotal swing vote in the Senate when the victories of Jon Ossoff and the Rev. Raphael Warnock in the Georgia Senate runoff are certified and the chamber is split 50-50.
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris would be poised to break any deadlocks.
The checks that would go out to people making $75,000 or under should be targeted to those who need it most, he said.
The amount decreases for higher earners, and people who make over $95,000 get nothing.
“Sending checks to people who basically already have a check and aren’t going to be able to spend it or not going to spend it and usually put it in their savings account right now. That’s not who we are,” Manchin said. “We have done an awful lot of that.”
“I have people in West Virginia that can’t go back to work because there’s no job to go back to. I have businesses that can’t open up. Don’t you think we should be helping them first?” he said.
President Trump signed the $2.3 trillion coronavirus relief bill on Dec. 27 that included the $600 stimulus checks.
The president pushed for $2,000 checks, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and many of his Republican colleagues opposed the move.