Warnock slams Loeffler claim that he supports 'crippling' business lockdowns

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GOP pollster Kristen Soltis Anderson discusses whether polls are helpful leading up to the Senate runoff races in Georgia and how President Trump is responding to these elections and the presidential race.

Democratic Georgia Senate candidate Raphael Warnock fired back at Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler this week after her campaign suggested that he supports lockdown measures that would further harm businesses as they attempt to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

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The Warnock and Loeffler campaigns have traded barbs on the campaign trail regarding their respective plans to restart Georgia’s economy following its pandemic-related downturn. Earlier this month, Loeffler’s deputy campaign manager said the Republican senator “opposes the lockdowns that radical Democrats like Raphael Warnock supports that are crippling states like New York and California” amid a spike in COVID-19 cases.

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“Rev. Warnock has said all along that the way to get out of this pandemic is to follow the science and public health guidance from experts like Dr. Fauci,” Warnock campaign spokesman Michael J. Brewer said in a statement. “Sen. Kelly Loeffler continues to mislead Georgians about his position because she can’t defend the fact that she profited off the pandemic while downplaying the risk to Georgians and continues to block critical relief for small businesses, workers and families across Georgia.”

As Congress remains deadlocked on the passage of a new coronavirus relief package, economic restart plans have emerged as a key issue during Georgia’s all-important Senate runoffs. Warnock has argued that additional congressional action to approve emergency relief for people struggling with pandemic-related financial challenges is critical to any effort to restart Georgia’s economy.

Warnock’s attacks on Loeffler’s pandemic record have focused on allegations that she benefited from millions of dollars in personal stock transactions beginning last January after she received a private intelligence briefing on the severity of COVID-19. Loeffler has denied directing the stock trades or engaging in any wrongdoing.

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A Senate ethics committee found no evidence that she violated federal law. Loeffler has since divested from her individual stock holdings.

Warnock’s economic recovery plan calls for a renewal of federal unemployment benefits that expired in July and an expansion of those benefits to cover workers who were not included in the initial package. Warnock supports federal aid for small businesses as well as state and local governments.

Warnock told Fox News that he “strongly” supports the inclusion of direct payments to struggling families in any upcoming aid package, as well as an extended moratorium on evictions during the recovery.

“It is unacceptable that for seven months Sen. Loeffler has opposed giving Georgians the support they need to get through this pandemic,” Warnock said in a statement.

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Loeffler, like other prominent Republicans, has called for a “targeted” aid package with an emphasis on relief for businesses. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and other leading Democrats have called for a much larger, multitrillion-dollar coronavirus relief package that would include aid for state and local governments.

The Republican senator defended her record pursuing relief measures for Georgians during a Dec. 6 debate. She argued that she had supported aid packages that provided more than $47 billion in assistance to state residents, including $15 billion in forgivable loans for small businesses.

“Since I got to the Senate, I’ve worked hard to deliver relief to Georgians during this pandemic, and I’m continuing to do that,” Loeffler said during the debate. “But look what Democrats have done. They have stood for stonewalling relief that I voted for twice in the Senate to deliver relief to families, to farmers, to schools and hospitals. They’re playing politics.”

Loeffler has called for Congress to reallocate remaining CARES Act funding to support struggling Americans and for the approval of another round of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans to aid small businesses impacted by the pandemic.

In late April, Loeffler released her USA Restoring & Igniting the Strength of our Economy (USA RISE) plan, a framework for a post-pandemic economic restart that would shift production of essential goods to the United States and increase investment in domestic infrastructure, among other measures.

Loeffler has repeatedly referred to Warnock as a “radical” who would embrace socialist policies and side with the Democratic Party’s progressive wing if elected to office.

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The outcome of Georgia’s two Senate runoff races will determine which party controls the Senate. The Democrats need to win both races to secure a 50-50 tie in the Senate, with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris serving as the tiebreaker on key votes.

Georgia’s runoff vote is slated for Jan. 5.

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