Biden and Harris are headed to Atlanta next week to tout $1.9T COVID-19 relief plan

President Joe Biden -- shown flanked by Democratic U.S. Sens. Raphael Warnock, left, and Jon Ossoff during a campaign visit to the state in January -- will return to Georgia on March 19 to celebrate passage of the $1.9 trillion stimulus relief package. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images/TNS)
President Joe Biden -- shown flanked by Democratic U.S. Sens. Raphael Warnock, left, and Jon Ossoff during a campaign visit to the state in January -- will return to Georgia on March 19 to celebrate passage of the $1.9 trillion stimulus relief package. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images/TNS)

Credit: TNS

Credit: TNS

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will visit Georgia next week as part of a nationwide victory lap to celebrate the passage of the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package that Democrats couldn’t have muscled through Congress without victories in the state’s January U.S. Senate runoffs.

Biden and Harris will visit Atlanta on March 19, the White House said, though additional details were not immediately available. It’s part of a tour next week that will also bring Biden to Pennsylvania, another battleground state key to his victory. Harris is traveling Monday to Nevada, another state Democrats won in a tight race in 2020.

The unprecedented package, which was unanimously opposed by Republicans in Congress, includes $1,400 relief checks for many Americans, new tax credits for parents, health insurance incentives and an infusion of cash to help reopen schools and bolster vaccine distribution. It also finances about $8.2 billion for state and local governments in Georgia.

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Biden, who signed the measure into law Thursday, carried Georgia by less than 12,000 votes in November, becoming the first Democratic presidential candidate to win the state since 1992. The victory was upheld repeatedly by state and federal elections officials, who balked at then-President Donald Trump’s repeated attempts to overturn the election outcome.

Biden last visited Georgia on Jan. 4 to stump for Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, two Democratic U.S. Senate candidates who put their promise to vote for his robust economic relief plan at the center of their campaigns.

Vice President Kamala Harris will join President Joe Biden in Atlanta on March 19 to celebrate passage of the $1.9 trillion stimulus package. (Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com)
Vice President Kamala Harris will join President Joe Biden in Atlanta on March 19 to celebrate passage of the $1.9 trillion stimulus package. (Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com)

Credit: Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

Credit: Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

Their narrow victories in January flipped control of the Senate and allowed a Democratic-controlled Congress to push a far more expansive plan than they could have in a divided Washington.

Ossoff and Warnock have highlighted Georgia’s singular role in the successful passage of the legislation, reminding voters at every turn of the consequence of their upset victories.

“I just want to say thank God for Georgia,” Warnock said this week at a celebratory press conference with other Democratic members of the state’s congressional delegation.

About our coverage

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is tracking the money coming into Georgia from the $1.9 trillion federal stimulus package. Journalists from across the newsroom will document how the money is administered and spent, whether it accomplishes its goals and whether it creates any unintended consequences. It is part of our commitment to hold government accountable and show our readers how government action affects their lives. Our journalists work hard to be fair and will follow this complex story as it unfolds in the coming months and years.

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State Republicans have rallied against the measure, which they say is too wasteful and too broad. Many have echoed Gov. Brian Kemp’s criticism that Georgia didn’t get its fair share of stimulus dollars and seconded his frustration that the money can’t be used to enact tax breaks.

“You heard that right: Democrats in Washington are now telling states they can’t cut taxes, create new incentives that attract investment, or expand and incentivize school choice,” Kemp said.

Democrats, meanwhile, have focused on the surge of cash that aims to help middle-class and lower-income Georgians, which includes $7 billion in new funding for the Paycheck Protection Program and $2 billion to encourage state GOP leaders to expand the Medicaid program.

“Elections matter. Leadership matters,” said U.S. Rep. Nikema Williams, who chairs the state Democratic Party.

“Thanks to Georgia voters who showed up and elected Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock,” Williams said, “the American people are getting real relief to recover from this economic crisis and stop COVID-19 for good.”

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