President-elect Joe Biden said electing Democrats Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock in Tuesday’s runoff elections would end the gridlock in Washington and allow a Democrat-controlled Senate to provide $2,000 stimulus checks to Americans.
“If you send Jon and the Reverend to Washington, those $2,000 checks will go out the door, restoring hope and decency and honor for so many people who are struggling right now,” Biden said, making his closing argument for the Democrats at a campaign event in Atlanta on Monday.
“And if you send (Republican Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler) back to Washington, those checks will never get there,” Biden said. “It’s just that simple. The power is literally in your hands.”
Biden’s declaration come just days after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, rejected a bill that would have increased direct stimulus payments from $600 to $2,000.
Biden said the election of Ossoff and Warnock would “break the gridlock that has gripped Washington and this nation.”
Tuesday’s closely watched races will determine whether Republicans keep control of the Senate, which will affect the kind of legislation Biden would be able to pass through the chamber as president. If Ossoff and Warnock both win their races, the Senate would be tied 50-50 Republicans and Democrats, with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris able to act as a tie-breaking vote, therefore giving control of the chamber to Democrats.
“The debate over $2,000 isn’t some abstract debate in Washington, it’s about real lives. Your lives, the lives of good, hardworking Americans,” Biden said. He spoke of Americans struggling amid the coronavirus pandemic who are having difficulty putting food on the table, paying rent or their mortgage and paying their utility bills.
“If you’re like millions of Americans all across this country, you need the money, you need the help, and you need it now,” the President-elect said.
Video: Group of GOP senators announce plans to vote against counting electoral votes (CNN)
Biden on Monday stressed the need for Ossoff and Warnock in the Senate in order to get Congress to fully fund the Covid-19 vaccine distribution efforts. He said he needed the additional two Democrats in Congress to further his agenda on jobs, health care, justice and the environment.
“This is not an exaggeration: Georgia, the whole nation is looking to you to lead us forward,” Biden said.
The President-elect slammed Perdue and Loeffler, accusing the Republican senators of being loyal to President Donald Trump and not to the people of Georgia.
“You have two senators who think they’ve sworn an oath to Donald Trump, not to the United States Constitution,” Biden said.
“As President, I don’t believe your United States senators are going to work for me, they work for the people of Georgia. That’s why I’m not asking your senators to be loyal to me, I believe they should be loyal to you, to Georgia, the United States Constitution, period,” Biden said.
The President-elect continued, “And if you vote for Jon and the Reverend, that’s what you’re going to get: decent, honorable men. They won’t put a president or party first, and they sure won’t put themselves first. They know public service is about you, it isn’t about them, it’s not about enriching themselves, it’s about making people’s lives better.”
The elections were forced to runoffs because no candidate surpassed 50% of the vote in November.
Biden’s campaign stop in Georgia comes the same day Trump is scheduled to headline a rally in Dalton, Georgia, to campaign for Perdue and Loeffler.
The appearances in the state will come one day after The Washington Post published an audio recording of a stunning one-hour phone call in which Trump pushed Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” votes to overturn the election results after his loss to Biden. CNN also obtained an audio recording of the phone call.
During the call, Trump lambasted Raffensperger, who is also a Republican, for refusing to falsely say that Trump won the election in Georgia and repeatedly touted baseless claims of election fraud. Georgia recertified its presidential election results last month, and again found Biden as the winner following three counts of ballots.
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris slammed Trump’s phone call as “a bald, bald-faced, bold abuse of power by the President of the United States,” while campaigning for Ossoff and Warnock in Savannah, Georgia, on Sunday.
Biden traveled to Georgia last month to campaign for Ossoff and Warnock. At a drive-in rally in Atlanta, Biden slammed Georgia’s Republican senators for siding with President Donald Trump in his efforts to undo the election results in Georgia.
The President-elect also previously appeared in a campaign ad urging Georgians to vote for Ossoff and Warnock, saying he needed the two Democrats in the Senate to pass legislation providing economic relief to Americans amid the coronavirus pandemic. Biden said in the ad he was prepared to sign a Covid-19 relief package on his first day in office that fully funds the public health response to the pandemic, ensures free Covid testing and vaccinations for all Americans and provides economic support to small businesses.