After Georgia elected two Democratic senators who promised to support $2,000 pandemic relief checks for the public, some voters in the Peach State say they feel ‘betrayed’ that only $1,400 of additional funds are likely to come their way.
Senators-elect Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock both used the phrase ‘$2,000 relief checks’ during their campaigns, with Warnock even sharing a mocked-up image of what a $2,000 check would look like.
But Joe Biden‘s relief plan foresees the checks as a mere $1,400 supplement to the $600 payments that have already been signed off by Donald Trump, bringing the total to $2,000 rather than sending out a new $2,000.
Some Georgia voters have been left unimpressed by what they see as semantic trickery, with one person who canvassed for Democrats saying he felt he had ‘lied to people’ when he promised them $2,000 payments.
‘I’m a man of principle and morals and I feel like s**t. I lied to them,’ Rogelio Linares told Mediaite.
Democratic senators-elect Jon Ossoff, left, and Raphael Warnock, right, campaigned for $2,000 relief checks during their successful runoff bids
Warnock shared this image of what a $2,000 check would look like – but some voters have been angered by the fact that Democrats now see the checks as a mere $1,400 supplement
Ossoff and Warnock won the January 5 runoffs to give Democrats a bare majority in the Senate thanks to the casting vote held by incoming VP Kamala Harris.
The result also confirmed Georgia’s new status as an up-for-grabs state after Joe Biden narrowly won its 16 electoral votes in November, becoming the first Democrat to win the state in a presidential race since Bill Clinton in 1992.
But some of those voters now accuse Democrats of ‘backtracking’. Accusing the Democratic leadership of a ‘betrayal of the working class’, Linares said that ‘people are very mad about it’ after the $1,400 plan was unveiled.
‘At the doors, I was literally telling people, $2,000 checks, you can rely on this’ he said.
Another voter who supported Ossoff and Warnock, Rachel Kahn, said she felt the $2,000 promise had been misleading.
‘In my opinion as a person who does marketing, advertising, and public communications as my job, I would confidently say their messaging implied an additional $2,000, not $2,000 minus $600,’ she said.
President-elect Joe Biden, pictured, unveiled a $1.9trillion relief plan last week which includes $1,400 checks to bring the total for December and January to $2,000
Oscar Zaro, another Democratic voter, said many people in his district had turned out for Ossoff and Warnock because of the promised $2,000.
‘They really underestimate just how much people are hurting economically,’ Zaro said of congressional Democrats.
Warnock used the phrase ‘$2,000 relief checks’ several times in the final days of the campaign, saying on one occasion that Georgians ‘need them to survive’.
One Warnock advert had a mocked-up image of a $2,000 check from the treasury, with the caption: ‘Want a $2,000 check?’.
Ossoff said on the eve of polling day that ‘we can pass $2,000 relief checks for the people, but we have to win this Senate election’.
Biden himself also joined in the campaign for Ossoff and Warnock and similarly implied that the checks would be $2,000 of new funds.
‘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,’ he said.
Trump signed a bill including $600 checks into law last month, after initially holding it up and calling for larger payments
But the Biden rescue plan published last Thursday said the checks would be worth $1,400, ‘bringing their total relief payment from this and the December down payment to $2,000’.
Some Democratic politicians have also criticized the move, with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez calling for a full $2,000 extra.
Fellow congresswoman Cori Bush said pointedly that ‘$1,400 does not equal $2,000’, and is calling for the larger checks to be paid monthly.
The original $600 payments were signed by Trump in late December after he had initially held up the bill, called for $2,000 checks instead and complained about other unnecessary spending.
Biden’s $1.9trillion relief package also faces opposition from Republicans, some of whom are reluctant to support a further expansion of the budget deficit.
Some GOP lawmakers have also objected to the inclusion of long-term Democratic goals such as boosting the minimum wage to $15 per hour.