Jessica Tarlov: Georgia Senate runoffs — a win for Warnock and Ossoff is a win for American priorities
Georgia governor on what’s at stake in Tuesday’s runoff election
Gov. Brian Kemp R-Ga. joins Martha MacCallum and Bret Baier to discuss the national impact of the looming Senate runoff election.
As a consumer of political content, I’m sure you’ve already been inundated by articles and TV segments analyzing the importance of the Georgia Senate run-off elections on Tuesday. Control of the Senate means, in no uncertain terms, that President-elect Joe Biden and Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris will be able to bring their agenda to life… or not.
It was central to both Biden’s primary and general election campaigns that he was the candidate best suited to be able to work with Republicans and I believe that’s very much the case.
He has decades long relationships with key GOP officials, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and has shown throughout his career that he is very effective at reaching across the aisle to work on bipartisan legislation.
But for all of Biden’s goodwill and effort in this arena, it is obvious that Republicans have no interest in working with him. Biden can make all the overtures he wants, McConnell has been clear. He sees Democrats as the enemy.
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It follows that divided government isn’t good enough. In order for anything to be accomplished in Washington, and I mean anything, McConnell cannot remain in control.
It’s underrated and often forgotten just how sick Americans are of the inaction in Washington. Congress enjoys an approval rating in the low teens on a good day and voters overwhelmingly believe representatives are more concerned with themselves and playing politics than what’s best for Americans.
Need evidence? Look no further than the drama over the COVID-19 stimulus package wherein 78% of Americans support $2,000 stimulus checks and the GOP still blocked it. They can’t even work together with Democrats at such a dire time in history so it’s quite obvious they won’t be reaching across the aisle when we’re out of this once in a century pandemic.
There will be another opportunity to approve a standalone bill that sends money to the American people soon after Biden’s inauguration. If Democratic Senate candidates Raphael Warnock and Joe Ossoff are in D.C., that will be possible. If Republican Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue win on Tuesday, McConnell will block that desperately needed assistance.
This is about so much more than COVID assistance, though. If Democrats hold a Senate majority, Biden should be able to make progress on key issues like the economy, health care, immigration and climate change.
These are policy areas where there is broad agreement amongst Americans.
Nearly two thirds of Americans favor increased taxes on the wealthiest Americans. That includes 77% of Democrats and 53% of Republicans. And over two thirds support an increase in the federal minimum wage. While a majority of Republicans don’t support a $15 minimum wage, there is broad support for a raise beyond the current rate of $7.25.
The Affordable Care Act currently enjoys a 53% favorability rating as compared to just 34% who oppose it in the latest Kaiser Family Foundation polling. Nearly 75% believe that it’s important that people with pre-existing conditions remain protected.
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On immigration, Americans broadly support legal status for DACA kids. Recent polling shows 75% hold this position. They also believe immigrants are good for the country, this includes a majority of Republicans, and bring with them a strong work ethic and talent.
And on climate change, nearly two-thirds of Americans believe government should act more aggressively to combat climate change. They also want the government to go further to reduce greenhouse gases, restrict power plant emissions, require more fuel-efficient cars and tax corporations based on their emissions.
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These aren’t Democratic positions, they are American positions. But only one party will ensure they come to life: the Democrats. These are all positions and policies Biden will be able to tackle if Democrats also control the senate.
A win for Warnock and Ossoff is a win for American priorities.
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