Energy

Kamala Harris Endorsed The ‘Green New Deal,’ But How Will She Pay For It?

REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage

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Michael Bastasch Energy Editor
  • Sen. Kamala Harris supports a “Green New Deal,” but didn’t say how she would pay for it.
  • A “Green New Deal” would likely cost more than $1 trillion, if not more, according to a new report.
  • Harris said “the plan has to be around investing in solar, in wind.”

California Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris endorsed a “Green New Deal” that’s gained popularity among Democratic presidential hopefuls, but she didn’t go into how she would pay for it.

“I support a ‘Green New Deal,’ and I will tell you why,” Harris, who is running for president in 2020, said on CNN Tuesday night. “Climate change is an existential threat to us, and we have got to deal with the reality of it.”

Harris added “the plan has to be around investing in solar, in wind” and “we need to be dedicated to that kind of work,” referring to jobs installing wind turbines and solar panels.

A big question dogging “Green New Deal” supporters is how a plan to completely transform the U.S. economy within a decade will be paid for? Harris did not offer any details. (RELATED: Kamala Harris Makes Misleading Climate Change Claim In Her First Campaign Speech. Why Isn’t The Media Correcting Her?)

New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the plan’s main champion, suggested a 70 percent tax on income over $10 million to pay for the “Green New Deal.” Harris called the idea “fantastic,” but stopped short of endorsing it.

U.S. Senator Harris launches her campaign for President of the United States at a rally at Frank H. Ogawa Plaza in her hometown of Oakland

U.S. Senator Kamala Harris launches her campaign for President of the United States at a rally at Frank H. Ogawa Plaza in her hometown of Oakland, California, U.S., January 27, 2019. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage.

However, taxing the rich won’t likely be enough to pay for a “Green New Deal,” according to an analysis by The Daily Caller News Foundation. The plan could cost trillions of dollars if all its goals are implemented.

Harris’ representatives did not respond to TheDCNF’s request for comment on how she would pay for a “Green New Deal” or if she would support Ocasio-Cortez’s idea for a 70 percent tax on millionaires.

Since the “Green New Deal” is vague and lacks specifics, it’s hard to gauge its costs, but a new report by the American Action Forum (AAF) says the regulatory cost of the plan is likely to top $1 trillion, if not more.

“It is difficult to imagine any scenario where the economic costs of regulation fail to top $1 trillion, and they could be multiples of that amount,” Dan Bosch, AAF’s director of regulatory policy, wrote in an analysis published Tuesday.

But a “Green New Deal” is more than just regulations to phase out fossil fuels within 10 years, it also calls for universal health care, basic income and jobs training programs for workers. Those could add billions, if not trillions, more to the plan’s cost.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speaks during a march organised by the Women's March Alliance in the Manhattan borough of New York City

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) speaks during a march organised by the Women’s March Alliance in the Manhattan borough of New York City, U.S., January 19, 2019. REUTERS/Caitlin Ochs.

Indeed, Ocasio-Cortez sees the “Green New Deal” as a tool for social justice as much as plan aimed at global warming.

“This is going to be the Great Society, the moonshot, the civil rights movement of our generation,” Ocasio-Cortez said at a December panel event alongside 2020 presidential hopeful Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Sanders and other Democratic 2020 hopefuls have all endorsed a “Green New Deal.” Harris is likely supporting the plan to stave challenges from her left about her commitment to fighting global warming.

Supporting a “Green New Deal” is easy for Democrats because it lacks specifics. As the plan stands now, it would require the creation of a congressional committee to draft “Green New Deal” legislation with broad goals.

Expect more Democrats to endorse the “Green New Deal” before any specific policies are recommended and costs can be calculated.

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