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Senator Kamala Harris, a Democrat from California, speaks during a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, March 7, 2019.
Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., on Thursday welcomed Beto O’Rourke’s announcement that he has officially launched his run for president.
“As far as I’m concerned, the more the merrier,” Harris, who launched her presidential campaign in January, said on MSNBC. There is an “embarrassment of riches” among the Democrats who are running for president, she added when asked about O’Rourke’s candidacy.
Yet she also appeared to take a subtle dig at O’Rourke, a former three-term congressman who hasn’t fully fleshed out his policy proposals for the presidential race.
The California senator, who was elected to the Senate in 2016, stressed that voters will be focused on whichever candidate has a “proven record of producing” results.
“I think that there is no question, everybody in our country has a lot at stake in the outcome of this race,” Harris said. “People care about the issues that wake them up in the middle of the night, and they want to know that we have a plan for it.”
She used the airtime to then lay out her middle-class tax plan. Last year, Harris introduced her $500-a-month proposal, which would grant $6,000 a year to families earning less than $100,000 a year, and $3,000 annually to individuals earning less than $50,000.
The grants would come in the form of tax breaks. However, the nonpartisan think tank Tax Policy Center says it is unsure how Harris would pay for the tax credits, as her current proposals would come up short.
Harris has also supported Sen. Bernie Sanders’ “Medicare-for-all” proposal and is a co-sponsor of the Green New Deal proposed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass.
O’Rourke has so far emphasized a hopeful message and his personal story rather than hard policy proposals. He has tended to seek more middle ground on issues, while the Democratic 2020 field has been leaning increasingly toward the left.
On Thursday morning, though, he said that he hasn’t “seen anything better” to deal with climate change than the Green New Deal.
O’Rourke, a Texas Democrat who made headlines and became a social media sensation last year when he narrowly lost his Senate race to Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, declared he was running for president Thursday morning. The former congressman raised more than $80 million in donations for his Senate campaign.
According to a Monmouth University poll, Harris is trailing fellow candidates Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., in the Democratic primary. The three senators fall behind former Vice President Joe Biden, who has hinted at a presidential run, in the poll.
O’Rourke is No. 6 in the poll, following Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J.