ICYMI: Kemp Concludes “Yearlong Spending Spree” With Democrats’ American Rescue Plan Funds

October 11, 2022

Kemp Called Democrats’ ARP a “Slap in the Face to Hardworking Georgians” But Continues to Take Credit for Its Funds

With less than thirty days until Election Day, Gov. Brian Kemp is concluding a “yearlong spending spree,” allocating nearly all of the $4.8 billion in relief funding that congressional Democrats delivered for Georgia through the American Rescue Plan. A new report from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reveals that the funds didn’t “have to be committed until the end of 2024, or spent until 2026.”

Despite Kemp’s harsh criticisms of Democrats’ American Rescue Plan, the package has funded crucial projects across Georgia — which Kemp has been bragging about on the campaign trail as he tries to take credit and boost his re-election bid.

Earlier this year, Georgia Democrats released a new website to hold Kemp accountable on his hypocrisy by reminding voters of his opposition to the American Rescue Plan and his efforts to try and take credit for all it delivered to Georgia: KempDoesntCare.com.

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Kemp allocates nearly all of $4.8 billion in fed COVID-19 funds ahead of election

  • Facing a tough reelection fight, Gov. Brian Kemp has in the past year committed almost all of the $4.8 billion in COVID-19 relief money approved over his opposition by Congress in 2021.
  • That means whoever wins the gubernatorial election in November will have little federal COVID relief money to spend on their priorities going forward.
  • The Republican governor has allocated all but $150 million of the money, announcing over the past year police bonuses, high-speed internet and sewer projects, debit cards for low-income Georgians, money for housing and business programs, and desperately needed funding for Grady Memorial Hospital, among other things.
  • The money didn’t have to be committed until the end of 2024, or spent until 2026, although Kemp’s staff said there was some urgency to make sure the projects finished on time.
  • While Democrats generally haven’t criticized what Kemp has spent the money on, they say the fact that he’s pushing the money out quickly in his reelection year shows the relief money is being used to bolster his chances of beating Stacey Abrams in November.
  • “It does not surprise me they haven’t left anything behind for the next person,” said state House Minority Whip David Wilkerson, D-Powder Springs. “They are basically loading the cannons and firing off all the shots they have (to win). They are not planning for the long term. They are planning for right now.”
  • Kemp called the $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill that congressional Democrats passed in March 2021 a wasteful measure that didn’t give Georgia its fair share.
  • However, he has gone on a yearlong spending spree while at the same time making criticism of Democratic President Joe Biden’s economic policies one of the cornerstones of his campaign against Abrams.
  • In some of the press releases announcing the spending Kemp’s staff said the money was coming from the COVID relief fund. In some, they didn’t.
  • Some Republican lawmakers were initially concerned the massive federal COVID package would help drive up inflation, and they asked Kemp for a role in how the money would be spent. The governor allowed them to recommend projects in spending the first $2.4 billion. But in the end, he had the final say.
  • Abrams’ campaign said it’s clear Kemp used the money congressional Democrats approved to further his reelection bid.
  • “Instead of investing in our state for years to come,” Abrams spokesman Alex Floyd said, “Brian Kemp shoveled billions into campaign gimmicks in an election year — using federal dollars he opposed.”


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