(The Center Square) — Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp is again turning to the federal government to dole out more cash to Peach State residents.
The governor has funneled more than $1 billion in money from the American Rescue Plan's State Fiscal Recovery Fund to the state's Department of Human Services. The agency will give up to $350 in cash to Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families recipients in Georgia.
Kemp, a Republican, said the one-time handout is necessary to help the recipients weather a sluggish economy amid the lingering COVID-19 pandemic and high inflation.
Democrats have criticized the governor for disparaging federal spending plans like ARP while using the money and taking credit for giving handouts to Georgians. Stacey Abrams, Kemp's Democratic challenger in November's governor's race, chided him for making such a move in the run-up to Election Day.
"While [U.S. Sens. Reverend Warnock and Jon Ossoff, both D-Georgia,] brought millions of dollars in COVID relief to Georgians, Brian Kemp criticized the plan and urged our senators 'to vote against it,'" Abrams said on Twitter.
"Kemp cares about winning political points, not about everyday Georgians," Abrams added. "...I will not wait until an election year to fight for you."
According to state numbers, in 2019, roughly 1.8 million Georgians were on Medicaid, up about 1% from 2018. Spokespeople for Kemp and DHS did not respond to a request for more data about Georgians on Medicaid.
The cash giveaway is open to Georgians who were enrolled in one of the programs by July 31.