Campaign check: Ossoff ad criticizes Perdue over stimulus checks

The statement:

“And then, when we needed help the most, he [Sen. David Perdue] fought against the stimulus checks …” –small businesswoman Marilyn Crimes in a Jon Ossoff ad that began airing in metro Atlanta on Dec. 1

What we found:

Congress voted in March to disburse stimulus checks to qualified Americans, including more than five million to Georgians, to help cushion the economic trauma of the coronavirus pandemic.

Republican Sen. David Perdue was one of 96 senators who voted unanimously for the legislation. As of Aug. 28, the last date for which information is available, the measured resulted in 5,066,461 checks, worth $8.47 billion, being cut to Georgians, according to the IRS.

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Credit: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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Credit: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The bill, known as the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Securities (CARES) Act, was signed into law by President Donald Trump on March 27. Several Perdue statements after the bill’s passage make clear he is not in favor of stimulus payments, one of several relief measures in the CARES Act.

For instance, on May 7, he told The Marietta Daily Journal that, in passing the CARES Act, “I held my nose. A lot of people did.” Asked in that same interview if the stimulus checks were necessary and helped the nation, Perdue said: “I personally opposed it. But that’s a controversial position, too.”

In August, he said on PBS News Hour that he would rather see a payroll tax cut than another direct payment to taxpayers, such as the one included in the CARES Act. Stimulus payments in previous years were not proven effective, he said.

In a recent television ad on the matter, Democrat Jon Ossoff takes aim at Perdue, his opponent in a runoff election on Jan. 5.

Among the ad’s claims: Perdue was against putting money in the hands of working Americans during the pandemic.

“And then when we needed help the most, he fought against the stimulus checks …,” Marilyn Crimes, a struggling restauranteur in tiny Webster County in Southwest Georgia, says in the ad.

That line from Crimes closely mirrors a statement Perdue made in April during an Americans for Prosperity tele-town hall. At the time, members of Congress were huddling on the prospects of passing another pandemic relief package, with or without more stimulus checks.

Perdue told that audience that the CARES Act included “a direct payment program that most of us on our side fought against.”

Ossoff campaign spokesperson Miryam Lipper said Perdue’s own statements back up the accuracy of the ad claim.

“Senators advocate for or against policy in bills, that’s their job,” she said, adding that Perdue was making these comments while “Democrats in the Senate were trying to get a second round of direct payments.”

Senate and House members continue to say they hope to pass another relief package soon.

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