America's richest senator fights against bigger COVID relief checks

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Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) is running on her 100% support for Trump, but isn't for his latest idea to help struggling Americans.

Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) is America's wealthiest senator. But on Wednesday, she rejected the idea of providing $2,000 payments to struggling constituents, indicating she'd only consider it if it were offset by other spending cuts.

Asked if she would support increasing the $600 direct payments included in this week's compromise pandemic relief legislation to $2,000 — as demanded by Donald Trump on Tuesday night — Loeffler reportedly said, "I'll certainly look at supporting it if it repurposes wasteful spending toward that, yes."

Loeffler, who was appointed to a vacant Senate seat last December, is currently locked in a tight special election race against Democratic candidate Raphael Warnock. The winner in their Jan. 5 runoff will serve the final two years of former Sen. Johnny Isakson's term.

Warnock responded on Wednesday by tweeting, "This sounds like a no from billionaire Senator Loeffler. Georgia families can't wait. $2,000 checks should be passed now."

Loeffler, a former financial services executive, has attempted to make her vast fortune a selling point in her campaign.

In May, she ran an ad bragging about owning a private jet and her large charitable donations. Three months earlier, when the Atlanta Journal-Constitution wrote about her use of her own plane to travel to and from Washington, D.C., a Loeffler spokesperson claimed that she did so  "to best serve Georgians and save taxpayer money."

While Loeffler sold millions of dollars' worth of stock early just as the pandemic hit, many of her constituents do not have it so lucky. Millions of Americans are out of work, largely as the result of business closures caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Nearly 300,000 Georgians were unemployed as of November.

The nation has also seen record spikes in the number of people living on poverty — an increase of roughly 7.8 million Americans over just the past five months.

A campaign spokesperson did not immediately respond to an inquiry for this story.

In a Tuesday night video, Donald Trump blasted the $900 billion relief bill passed by Congress — with Loeffler's support — a day earlier, for not including more generous direct payments.

"I am asking Congress to amend this bill and increase the ridiculously low $600 to $2,000 or $4,000 for a couple," he said. Congressional Democrats had repeatedly backed larger checks, but Senate Republicans refused to go beyond the $600 per person that ended up in the compromise.

Loeffler's refusal to fall in line with Trump on this represents an unexpected departure from her usual approach.

She has run ads boasting of a 100% Trump voting record and said in an October debate that she has never disagreed with anything Trump said or did.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.