Stand up for the facts!

Our only agenda is to publish the truth so you can be an informed participant in democracy.
We need your help.

More Info

I would like to contribute

Vice President Kamala Harris speaks during the Unite Here Convention on June 21, 2024, in New York. (AP) Vice President Kamala Harris speaks during the Unite Here Convention on June 21, 2024, in New York. (AP)

Vice President Kamala Harris speaks during the Unite Here Convention on June 21, 2024, in New York. (AP)

Louis Jacobson
By Louis Jacobson July 10, 2024

It’s True: Kamala Harris was an original backer of the Green New Deal

If Your Time is short

  • When senators introduced their version of the Green New Deal in February 2019, Harris was one of 11 Democrats who were original co-sponsors. 

  • In a Medium post published the day the resolution was introduced, Harris wrote that she was "proud" to have signed on as an original Senate co-sponsor. 

Vice President Kamala Harris has attracted heightened attention, including from critics and the media, amid continued bipartisan questions about President Joe Biden’s fitness for office after his roundly criticized debate performance June 27.

On July 7, during "Fox News Sunday," host Shannon Bream asked Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Fla., about former President Donald Trump possibly running against Harris, rather than Biden, in November. Donalds expressed confidence that Trump would find material to use against Harris in the campaign.

Donalds told Bream that Harris had "co-sponsored, fully sponsored this radical Green New Deal, which will cost the American people $100 trillion."

We previously rated False the notion that the Green New Deal, a proposal backed by some Democrats when it was unveiled in 2019, would cost $100 trillion.

We contacted Donalds’ office for evidence but received no reply.

However, we confirmed through public documentation that Harris did co-sponsor Senate legislation backing the Green New Deal and, to date, still supports the measure’s principles.

What was the Green New Deal?

Legislation proposing a Green New Deal was introduced Feb. 7, 2019, in both the House and the Senate, following months of discussion among progressive lawmakers and activists. 

As we noted then, these resolutions addressed ways to curb climate change and protect the environment, including achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions, building smart power grids, and upgrading existing buildings to maximize energy efficiency. 

Beyond the environment, the proposal addressed topics including racial justice, labor union policy and higher education. The resolutions were aspirational in nature, without specific details and with no new taxes or revenue streams to fund the shift, other than an expression of confidence that these changes will pay for themselves. 

The Green New Deal never gained universal support even among Democratic lawmakers, and in the Democratic-controlled House, party leaders never brought it to a vote. Meanwhile, as a resolution, the legislation would not have had the force of law even if both chambers had passed it, which they didn’t.

Even so, the proposal’s mere existence became a frequent talking point for Republicans, who warned that it would empower big government to infringe on Americans’ liberty and would cost taxpayers too much money.

What Harris said about the Green New Deal

Despite the Republican opposition, the proposal remained popular within the Democratic base, including with people who were poised to vote in the Democrats’ 2020 presidential primary. A significant number of Democrats who were running for president supported it, including Harris. 

Featured Fact-check

The future vice president, who had formally announced her presidential bid just weeks before the resolution was introduced, was joined on the list of original Senate co-sponsors by several other 2020 presidential candidates, including Cory Booker of New Jersey, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. (Co-sponsorship means full support for a piece of legislation, alongside multiple other members.)

In a Medium post published the day the Senate introduced its resolution, Harris wrote that she was "proud" to have signed on as an original Senate co-sponsor. 

"For too long, we have been governed by lawmakers who are beholden to big oil and big coal," Harris wrote. "They have refused to act on climate change. So it’s on us to speak the truth, rooted in science fact, not science fiction."

Harris closed by writing, "We do not fight this fight for our generation alone — but for generations to come. Thank you for taking direct action today."

On Sept. 4, 2019, Harris went further during a climate-focused town hall aired by CNN. Harris said she would support abolishing the filibuster — the parliamentary maneuver that forces most legislative business to secure at least 60 votes out of the Senate’s 100, rather than a simple majority — "to pass a Green New Deal."

What Harris says today

When asked to elaborate on Harris’ support for the Green New Deal, the White House said that as vice president, Harris had made a tangible contribution on economic policy distinct from her earlier support for the Green New Deal. She cast the tie-breaking vote to pass the Inflation Reduction Act, which included key investments aimed at curbing climate change, including provisions on electricity, transportation, energy efficiency, manufacturing, agriculture and land conservation.

"The Biden-Harris administration’s transformational investments accelerate our trajectory towards meeting our climate goals, bolster the United States’ leadership on climate and clean energy globally, and work to build a future where all Americans have access to clean air and water and are better protected from extreme weather," the White House said in a statement to PolitiFact.

Amid calls for the president to step aside ahead of the November election, said Marcia Godwin, a public administration professor at the University of La Verne, in Harris’ home state of California, said, "Republicans would love nothing more than to be able to paint Harris as a California liberal and create confusion about her viability as a consensus replacement pick."

Godwin added that both sides of the ideological spectrum "have incentives to point out Harris' support of Green New Deal legislation. Harris had difficulty getting traction on her own presidential campaign by being seen as too moderate, with her prosecutorial background. Progressives would look for signs that she would largely support their agenda."

Our ruling

Rep. Byron Donalds said Harris "co-sponsored, fully sponsored" the Green New Deal.

Donalds is right: When the Senate introduced its version of the Green New Deal in February 2019, Harris was one of 11 Democrats who were original co-sponsors. 

In a Medium post published when the resolution was introduced, Harris wrote that she was "proud" to have signed on as an original Senate co-sponsor. 

We rate Donalds’ statement True.

Our Sources

Byron Donalds, interview on of Fox News Sunday, July 7, 2024

Congress.gov, Green New Deal House and Senate resolutions, Feb. 7, 2019

Kamala Harris, Medium post, Feb. 7, 2019

CNN, "Kamala Harris says she would eliminate the filibuster to pass Green New Deal," Sept. 4, 2019

Congressional Research Service, "Inflation Reduction Act of 2022: Provisions Related to Climate Change," Oct. 26, 2023

PolitiFact, "7 questions about the Green New Deal," Feb. 12, 2019

PolitiFact, "Ernst uses flabby $93 trillion estimate for Green New Deal," March 12, 2019

Statement from the White House to PolitiFact, July 9, 2024

Browse the Truth-O-Meter

More by Louis Jacobson

It’s True: Kamala Harris was an original backer of the Green New Deal

Support independent fact-checking.
Become a member!

In a world of wild talk and fake news, help us stand up for the facts.

Sign me up