Governor Brian Kemp held harsh criticisms of the Democrats’ American Rescue Plan, which has been crucial in funding several projects across the state, but now Kemp is singing a different tune – bragging about the success of the plan while out on the campaign trail desperate to take credit and boost his chances of reelection. Kemp’s flip flopping has been highlighted by a new report from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, which notes that while he’s “been using the billions of dollars the federal government has sent to the state as a vital tool in his reelection campaign,” he was a vocal opponent before its passage, calling the ARP “unacceptable” and a “slap in the face to hardworking Georgians,” while urging Georgia’s Senators to block it. If Kemp’s requests had been realized it could have cost the state billions of dollars. Recently, however, Kemp conveniently announced that millions in American Rescue Plan dollars would fund rural broadband improvements, along with him taking credit for the funding that went towards everything from water and sewer improvements to investments designed to help small businesses recover from the pandemic and bonuses for first responders.
Earlier this year, Georgia Democrats went live with a new website, KempDoesntCare.com, meant to hold Kemp accountable for the claims he’s touted on the campaign trail and while in office. Kemp first called the COVID-19 relief bill passed in March 2021 a wasteful measure that didn’t give Georgia its fair share, yet used the funding since its passing as a tool for his reelection. He announced plans to spend more than $1.2 billion of federal COVID relief to hand out $350 for up to 3 million Georgians enrolled in publicly funded Medicaid, food stamp, and welfare programs. This announcement came on the heels of plans for an additional $240 million in COVID relief money to expand high-speed internet services in rural sections of the state – on top of the $400 million already committed to the project. In the press releases announcing these spending plans, never was it mentioned that it was federal COVID relief money paying for the expansion of services in parts of the state that are a key political base for Kemp and Republicans. This is only the latest stages of Kemp’s year-long spending spree using either federal COVID relief grants or state tax surpluses partially built on increased federal payments to Georgians during the pandemic.
State Senator Nan Orrock, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee has described Kemp as “talking out of both sides of his mouth,” going further by saying, “He wants to spend like a drunken sailor to help his reelection at the same time he’s throwing bombs at Democrats in Washington who provided the money.” When Kemp announced the checks that would be sent to Medicaid, food stamp and welfare recipients, he stated that it was needed, “given the harmful effects of President Biden’s economic agenda, and to help offset family struggles due to 40-year-high inflation.” It’s actions like these that have been frustrating Democrats who have to repeatedly point out that the governor is using federal funding he opposed while at the same time bashing the president to gain favor with voters before an election.