That could wind up hurting Georgia, Kemp said, because the state’s unemployment rate hovered around 5 percent while some other states with more stringent economic limits had higher jobless rates.
President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have staked enormous political capital on the relief package, which so far has no Republican support in Congress but has been embraced by Georgia Democrats as a pressing priority.
And Georgia’s two newly elected U.S. senators -- essentially, the deciding votes for the measure -- have vowed to approve the measure. U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff last week toured Grady Memorial Hospital, calling it essential to containing the pandemic.
Supporters say only a robust package will help the sluggish national economy rebound, and point to incentives such as a $15 minimum wage hike and a round of $1,400 relief checks. Republicans favor more targeted initiatives and say Biden’s package amounts to wasteful spending.
Kemp didn’t wade into the broader back-and-forth after touring a mass vaccination site at the Delta Flight Museum. Instead he homed in on the formula, which he said would punish Georgia for a “measured reopening here, because we’ve been fiscally conservative and we’ve made hard choices.”
“I think it’s a very unlevel playing field,” he said.