Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., is prepared to do whatever it takes to pass a Green New Deal, vowing to take executive action or even push to get rid of the Senate filibuster in order to get it done.
During a CNN town hall Wednesday devoted to climate change and featuring Democratic presidential candidates, an audience member asked Harris how she would work with Republicans to advance her goals related to the environment. Harris stated that she would try to reach across the aisle, but then discussed the measures she would take if this avenue failed.
“If they fail to act, as president of the United States I am prepared to get rid of the filibuster to pass a Green New Deal," the senator said.
The filibuster requires 60 votes to end debate on legislation in the Senate, but if the rules are changed to eliminate the filibuster, only a simple majority would be required.
Harris, if elected president, would still need support from Senate Democrats to make such a change. The Senate has already altered its own precedent to allow for top-level nominees to be confirmed with a simple majority but has kept the 60-vote threshold in place for controversial legislation.
It's also unclear if a Green New Deal would win the support of a majority in Congress. The sprawling plan aims to curb carbon emissions but versions of the proposal have also included major economic measures like a job-guarantee program.
Harris expressed frustration Wednesday over GOP inaction as it relates to climate change, and urged Republicans to question why more has not been done.
“As it relates to those Republicans in Congress, where I’ve now been for two and a half years, every one of those members need to look at the babies, the grandbabies in their life, and then look in the mirror and ask themselves why have they failed to act,” she said.
Harris said she is ready to act, even if it means acting alone.
“Leaders need to lead, so lead, follow, or get out the way, and get out the way starting with Donald Trump," she said, later adding, “I’m going to first attempt to work across the aisle, but if we don’t see any traction there, yes I will take executive action, and yes I will do whatever is necessary because this is about the health and safety of our country and our world.”