Covid’s assist hangs on Georgia Senate victories for Warnock, Ossoff
President-elect Joe Biden pays tribute to the crowd as he participates in a Get Ready to Vote Rally with Reverend Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff on December 15, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Joshua Lott | The Washington Post | Getty Images
President-elect Joe Biden warned in a new ad that his plan to beat the coronavirus pandemic depends on two Democrats winning a Georgia runoff that will determine which party controls the Senate.
“There are people in Congress who are threatening to do everything in their power to block our efforts,” Biden said in a direct appeal to Georgian voters to vote for the Democratic Senate’s hopes, Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff .
The one-minute ad, produced by the Ossoff and Warnock campaigns, was posted in Peach State on Thursday, less than three weeks before the January 5 runoff election. The election determines which party takes control of the Senate. The ad, Biden’s first in support of Warnock and Ossoff, also came days after early voting began in the state.
Georgia Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue must hold their seats in order for the GOP to maintain its lead in the chamber. The close races have become the nation’s main political battlefield after Biden’s victory over President Donald Trump.
If Ossoff and Warnock win, each party will have 50 seats and Vice President Kamala Harris will be tied.
Biden fought in person in Georgia this week while Trump traveled there in early December to host a rally for Loeffler and Perdue, who are facing off against Warnock and Ossoff, respectively. Vice President Mike Pence will fly to the state Thursday to make remarks.
Biden has come up with a detailed outline of how his government will fight the coronavirus pandemic when he takes office on January 20. In the ad, however, he warned that his plan for Day 1 cannot be implemented without a Democratic majority in the Senate.
“Georgia, I know things are difficult right now. But I want you to know that help is on the way,” Biden said on the ad.
“My administration is preparing to beat Covid-19 and bring economic relief to the American people. On the first day as your President, I am ready to sign a Covid aid package which is the response to the public that the Georgian government has called for Health is fully funded by CDC. It will ensure testing and vaccination for every American and give small businesses the support they need right now, “he said.
“Let me be clear: I need Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff in the United States Senate to do this,” warned Biden. “There are people in Congress who are threatening to do everything in their power to block our efforts.”
“You have to get out of there and vote for Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock. We need them in the Senate. God bless America and God bless our troops,” Biden said.
The all-important races take place amid the worst part of the pandemic to date in the United States.
As the health authorities had warned, the beginning of winter saw a record increase in cases, which led to new highs in hospital stays. On Monday, the US passed the tragic milestone of 300,000 deaths from the virus. The deepening crisis follows months of failure on Capitol Hill to negotiate an additional aid package for Covid.
Partisan feuds over the terms of a treaty prevented much-needed aid from being provided to Americans whose livelihoods and businesses have been torn by the virus and tight restrictions on heads of state aimed at slowing the spread of disease. Legislators signaled this week that they are finally nearing an agreement.
Refusing to admit Biden and falsely claiming he won re-election, Trump has largely ignored the shocking surge in deaths and cases. Rather, Trump emphasizes the introduction of vaccines, including Pfizers, recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration for emergency use.
But the vaccines will not immediately free the US from Covid’s grip, despite their record development time. White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci, who will join the Biden administration next month, said Wednesday the nation could return to some semblance of normalcy by mid-fall 2021 if enough people are vaccinated.
Like other states, Georgia has the highest number of Covid cases to date. Biden focused on the pandemic as he traveled to the state on Tuesday – the president-elect’s first campaign since defeating Trump – to blunt for Warnock and Ossoff.
“We need funding for testing and vaccine distribution. We need to put money in people’s pockets right now,” Biden said at a drive-through rally in Atlanta.
“We can do so much to make the lives of the people of Georgia and the country so much better, and we need senators who are ready.”