Donald Trump Takes Heat Off Georgia GOP on Stimulus, But Clash Looms Over $2,000 Checks

President Donald Trump lifted some of the pressure off Republican Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler on Sunday night as he signed the $900 billion stimulus package ahead of their key Georgia runoff elections next month.

Releasing a statement, the president said he wanted "wasteful" elements of the bill to be removed, and repeated his call for Congress to increase the size of stimulus checks to $2,000 and provide additional direct assistance to American families.

"As President of the United States it is my responsibility to protect the people of our country from the economic devastation and hardship that was caused by the China Virus," Trump said. He later claimed that "much more money" was on the way.

His decision to sign the new coronavirus stimulus bill and spending package removed the prospect of a government shutdown on Monday night and ensured millions of Americans would start to receive long-awaited relief amid high unemployment and personal debt.

Sens. Loeffler and Perdue (R-GA) thanked the president for releasing the stimulus funds as the January 5 Georgia Senate runoff elections loomed. But the pair also said there was a "great deal of work" to be done on curbing "wasteful" spending in the package.

Releasing a joint statement, the senators said: "The coronavirus pandemic grinded to a halt the greatest economic turnaround in American history, and Democrats are hellbent on a socialist agenda that prioritizes wasteful, irresponsible spending over the wellbeing of American people.

"We look forward to continuing to fight alongside the president in his relentless pursuit to keep America great."

However, it is not clear whether either of the GOP senators are on the same page as Trump when it comes to the issue of higher stimulus checks.

The president last week called on lawmakers to pass a bill that would replace the $600 stimulus checks provided under the latest relief package with $2,000 checks, and it appears the matter is heading for a vote in the Senate.

Asked whether she would support the boost to direct relief, Loeffler told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "I'll certainly look at supporting it if it repurposes wasteful spending for that, yes."

The paper reported that Perdue declined to comment on his stance on the matter.

Newsweek has contacted the Perdue and Loeffler campaigns for further comment.

The Democratic challengers Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock have seized on the possible split between their Republican rivals and Trump on the matter of stimulus checks.

Releasing a statement last week, the Warnock campaign said the president was right to push for the extra relief and called on Congress to "swiftly increase" the size of stimulus checks.

Ossoff has also sided with Trump on the matter, calling the $600 checks a "joke" and "insult" to Americans who have waited months for the second coronavirus relief belief.

The Democratic-controlled House will kickstart the battle to more than triple the size of stimulus checks on Monday with a floor vote on providing $2,000 checks instead of the standing $600 payments.

If the proposal passes, the Republican Senate will then have to decide whether it will consider the legislation.

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO), a rare proponent of higher stimulus checks within the Senate GOP, tweeted on Sunday night that the party leadership had agreed to a vote on the $2,000 amount.

Donald Trump in Georgia
Donald Trump attends a rally in support of Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) and Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) on December 05, 2020 in Valdosta, Georgia. Spencer Platt/Getty Images