Cory Booker dropped out of the presidential race on January 13, 2020. This page is no longer being updated.
Booker is running a campaign focused on love, unity and identity. He first gained national recognition as mayor of Newark, New Jersey, at times answering pleas to shovel residents out after major snowstorms. He was elected to the US Senate in a 2013 special election.
Stanford University, B.A., 1991; Stanford University, M.A, 1992; University of Oxford, Rhodes scholar, 1994; Yale Law School, J.D., 1997
April 27, 1969
Mayor of Newark, 2006-2013; Partner at the law firm Booker, Rabinowitz, Trenk, Lubetkin, Tully, DiPasquale and Webster, 2002-2006; Newark City Council member, 1998-2002; Staff attorney at the Urban Justice Center, 1997
BOOKER IN THE NEWS
Tim Scott's Republican rebuttal comes as his role in policing bill negotiation is also in the spotlight
Updated 6:03 AM ET, Wed Apr 28, 2021
Sen. Tim Scott, a key player in the bipartisan congressional effort to overhaul policing, will step into the national spotlight Wednesday, handpicked by GOP leadership to give the Republican rebuttal to President Joe Biden's first address to a joint session of Congress. The speech offers Scott a national platform and a chance to speak to many Americans for perhaps the first time at a moment in which he is playing a critical role in the effort to weave together a policing bill that can pass the narrowly divided US Senate. While Scott is keeping many of the details of his speech to himself, the South Carolina Republican said he's done "an appropriate level of practice." "You do your homework and you do your best to ... anticipate what he's going to say and be in a position to share with the nation a different way, at least what I think is a better way," Scott said on Tuesday. Scott would not elaborate on which issues he plans to address or if he would be discussing the effort to overhaul policing. "I think it should be a surprise to everybody," he said of his speech, but, as a well-known fan of colorful socks, he did divulge that he had bought a new pair especially for the occasion. Scott's appearance comes as his profile has continued to rise on Capitol Hill. He is the only Black Republican in the Senate and has spent years highlighting racial tensions with police. He proposed legislation in 2015 to create a national database of police use-of-force incidents that resulted in death after an unarmed Black man, Walter Scott, was killed by a police officer in Scott's hometown of North Charleston, South Carolina. In 2016, he gave an impassioned, deeply personal series of speeches on the Senate floor detailing his experience as a Black man in America. Last summer, in the wake of George Floyd's death, he drafted legislation aimed at overhauling policing, an effort that ultimately failed on the Senate floor. Now he's at the center of a new bipartisan effort, a delicate process encased in cautious optimism from both sides of the aisle. Working toward a compromise bill Scott's speech comes as his discussions over a bipartisan Senate bill overhauling policing with Democratic Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Democratic Rep. Karen Bass of California, the author of the House-passed George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, have intensified in recent weeks. Their goal remains crafting a compromise bill, according to a source familiar with the talks. During last summer's failed effort, both sides drafted their own bills, with Scott's receiving a 55-45 floor vote in the then-Republican-controlled Senate, falling short of the 60 votes needed to pass. But a new political environment in a non-election year and an increasing sense of urgency spurred by a number of police shooting deaths across the country have given this effort a better chance of bipartisan success. Bass, Booker and Scott met in person last week and on Monday night as they work to find compromises on the sticking points, according to a source familiar with the meetings. Though they have said they agree on a lot, serious issues remain. Two of them are qualified immunity, a legal defense used to protect police officers from civil litigation, and Section 242, a part of federal law that sets the bar for criminally prosecuting police officers. On qualified immunity, Scott has suggested shifting the responsibility from individual officers to police departments, while Bass recently said the officer and department should both be held accountable. Scott previously said Section 242 was "off the table for him," but Democrats want to change the language to make it easier to criminally prosecute officers, allowing them to be charged for "reckless" conduct as opposed to "willful" misconduct, which is the current language and a higher legal bar. Bass recently told CNN that lowering the standard is essential to cutting a final deal. "Because the point is that we have got to hold police officers accountable," Bass said. "Essentially now the standard that's used to prosecute an officer is so high. That's why they're never held to account. So you need to lower it just like you would for anybody." On Tuesday, Scott declined to say if the group had resolved those two key issues. "I think we're actually making progress overall," Scott told CNN. "I hate to litigate and/or fight with through the press on these issues. They are really important issues to communities that are very vulnerable. We are trying to get to a place where we can solve those issues." Booker said Tuesday that the group is getting closer to its goal. "It has to be meaningful, substantive reform. We're not going to get everything done in one bill. There are larger, deeper problems in our country around policing that we have to try to address, but this bill must make meaningful strides to making real reforms and making people safer, making policing more accountable and more transparent and making sure that we hopefully curtail or end certain practices that we shouldn't have in the United States," Booker said. But it could take some time. Bass has said she hopes to have a deal by the anniversary of Floyd's death on May 25. 'A very healthy relationship' All eyes remain on Bass, Booker and Scott, who will ultimately decide if a deal can be reached. There is genuine friendship and respect among the three, who have spoken effusively of one another as this has played out. "A very healthy relationship," Scott said of the trio. "That does not mean we all agree, but the good news is I think we trust each other enough to actually make progress on substantive issues where there is disagreement. I think it's really helped." "Tim is a friend and an honest broker," Booker said on Tuesday. "We may disagree on a whole host of things, but we have worked together to get major bills done in the past. I have a lot of faith in him. I believe we're in a historical moment. History has its eyes on us. And there's an urgency in our country, and may we both rise in this Senate negotiation to get something substantive and meaningful done." Booker added that Scott is a "good faith actor, and he's also a Black man in America who knows a lot of these issues personally. If anybody can get it done on his side, he's the right person to be negotiating with." Bass has praised Scott as a "wonderful ally and partner." When Bass was seen heading to Booker's office on Monday to meet with Scott and him, she was carrying vegan cupcakes. Booker, who is a vegan, was about to celebrate his birthday. The three also bring with them the strong backing of their leadership and the understanding that if they agree to it, their leadership will as well. Booker said this week that he's confident Scott can deliver GOP votes if they are able to get a deal. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has publicly supported Scott's current efforts on overhauling policing after asking him last summer to craft the original GOP proposal. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Tuesday that he had met with Booker and Sen. Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat who is Senate majority whip and chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, for an hour earlier this week to discuss a potential bill. Booker has said he's been given "wide latitude" to do everything he can to get a deal. "They're making good progress with Sen. Scott," Schumer said on Tuesday. "This is a serious problem. We need strong legislation. And we're hopeful that the Booker-Scott negotiations can produce just that."
Booker in September 2019 unveiled a $3 trillion plan for combating the climate crisis that promises to invest in clean energy, phase out the use of fossil fuels and create a carbon-neutral economy by 2045. The plan would require fossil fuel producers to pay a carbon fee on coal, natural gas and oil production and would end tax subsidies to those industries. Booker would create a “progressive climate dividend” paid to Americans through the carbon fees on fossil fuel producers. He also would take executive action to reverse many of Trump’s actions undoing Obama-era environmental initiatives. During the first Democratic primary debate, in June 2019, Booker cited climate change as one of the biggest threats facing the US. He supports the Green New Deal and has pushed back against critics of the plan who have called it impractical. “If we used to govern our dreams that way, we would have never gone to the moon,” Booker has said on the campaign trail. He has said he would keep the US in the Paris climate accord, a landmark 2015 deal on global warming targets that Trump has pledged to abandon. More on Booker’s climate crisis policy
Booker has been known in the past as business-friendly, accepting $100 million from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg for schools in Newark during his tenure as mayor. As a presidential candidate, Booker has called for more robust enforcement of antitrust laws, citing a “serious problem [in our country] with corporate consolidation.” During the first presidential debate, Booker said he would target companies like Amazon that pay low federal taxes or none at all. The senator has also discussed rolling back the 2017 Trump tax cuts. According to his campaign, Booker has stood by his opposition of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, an 11-nation deal negotiated under Obama that Trump withdrew from in one of his first acts as President. He has opposed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement – the successor deal to the North American Free Trade Agreement negotiated by Trump – as it is written. More on Booker’s economic policy
Booker has proposed federally mandated gun licenses, modeled after driver’s licenses. “If you need a license to drive a car,” he has said, “you need a license to own a gun.” His plan would also expand background checks and fund programs for communities beset by gun violence. It would ban so-called assault weapons, high-capacity magazines and bump stocks. He has proposed regulation and oversight of gun manufacturers. He would also close the “boyfriend loophole,” preventing people who abused dating partners from buying or owning firearms. More on Booker’s gun violence policy
Booker has co-sponsored Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ “Medicare for All” proposal, legislation that would create a government-run health care plan and essentially eliminate the private insurance industry. Still, he is in favor of keeping private insurance plans. When asked in February 2019 if he would do away with private health care, he said, “Even countries that have vast access to publicly offered health care still have private health care, so no.” He is a co-sponsor of Medicare-X, which would let individuals and small businesses buy government-backed insurance policies, known as a public option, on the Affordable Care Act exchanges. Additionally, he supports lowering the Medicare age to 50. Booker has pledged to work to drive down the price of prescription drugs, including co-sponsoring a measure that would annually review whether brand-name drugs are excessively priced relative to those in other countries. He has also come out in favor of importing drugs from Canada and other developed nations. More on Booker’s health care policy
Booker has proposed a range of executive actions to immediately roll back Trump’s immigration policies, including ending immigrant detention and family separations, and decriminalizing crossing the border without documentation. He would expand Obama-era protections for some undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children and those who are parents of American citizens. He ridiculed Trump’s national emergency declaration on the border wall, and voted against a spending bill – which ultimately passed and was signed into law – that provided $1.357 billion for 55 miles of new barriers. Booker has also endorsed accepting a minimum of 110,000 refugees annually, a significant increase over the historically low levels of resettlement during the Trump administration. More on Booker’s immigration policy
LATEST POLITICAL NEWS
Bipartisan infrastructure talks sputtering along with little time left
Updated 9:50 AM ET, Mon Jul 26, 2021
After spending the weekend negotiating, lawmakers have yet to clinch a bipartisan infrastructure deal, a precarious sign for senators who have months trying to cement a massive, bipartisan win for President Joe Biden. The talks are "inching along" and they aren't going any faster than that, one source familiar told CNN over the weekend. After days of painstaking talks over transit funding, broadband and water, the group still hasn't resolved a series of core issues as of this morning, undercutting the rosy depictions from lawmakers about where things stand and raising serious questions about if a group of ad hoc negotiators can really close this deal at all. Members held a series of talks Sunday with each other and key committee chairs and ranking members to try and close out remaining items. They just aren't there. What's new? A Democratic source close to the bipartisan infrastructure talks tells us that on Sunday night the Democratic negotiators alongside the White House sent the Republicans a fresh "global offer" that sought to close out the major outstanding issues from highway funding to water funding to broadband. The group's offer also included potential resolutions to the issue of Davis-Bacon, which requires companies who get government contracts to pay prevailing wages on big projects, and ways to use unspent Covid-19 relief money and the infrastructure bank as pay-fors. If it sounds like there is a lot outstanding, that is because there is. When Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, the top GOP negotiator in the group, said Sunday that they were 90% there, that very well may be the case. But right now, the remaining 10% isn't easy to close out. It's been more than a month since the group announced a framework. They have no legislative text and a steady stream of scores from the Congressional Budget Office have made it clear that the bill may not be fully paid for, which could make it a challenging vote for some Republicans. So will Schumer call this quits soon? As the majority leader with control of the floor, Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York has the power to put pressure on this group, set deadlines and ultimately pull the plug on this if he wants to. But as we saw last week from the failed vote Wednesday, the tactic of playing hardball hasn't yielded results yet. Instead, Schumer's facing a two-pronged obstacle to calling it quits: a White House that is still very committed to reaching a bipartisan deal and a series of moderate members deeply entrenched in the negotiations who aren't ready to give up yet and have the power to block Schumer's separate budget reconciliation proposal if the leader tries to close the door on their deal. Keep in mind Schumer can bring up another key procedural vote any time he wants. But he can only do that one more time without having to file cloture again and start the clock all over. If you are Schumer, you don't want to waste that opportunity. Watch for when Schumer holds that next vote because it either means the bipartisan group has a deal or the Democratic leader is seriously trying to move on. What's the timeline? How long this negotiation last is fully dependent on when Democratic senators like Arizona Democrat Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Joe Manchin of West Virginia think it is over. It's that simple. Schumer has little recourse in shutting this down if the White House and key Democrats want to keep going. Yes, the August recess is right around the corner. Yes, he needs to begin work very soon on a massive budget if he wants to pass it before lawmakers leave for the break. But, there is a reason that Manchin hasn't publicly committed to backing that $3.5 trillion budget outline. Some of it is because not all of the details are available, but a lot of it has to do with leverage. Suspending commitment for the budget means more room to keep working on this bipartisan negotiation and until that changes, the bipartisan deal looks like it is still alive. Other challenges for the bipartisan group One of the biggest risks of pulling together an ad hoc bipartisan gang to negotiate big pieces of legislation is that the people whose job it is to normally write the legislation -- chairs and ranking members -- aren't in the room when some major decisions get made and members don't have the resources that the full committee has like staff expertise on how to iron out thorny issues. Sometimes going around those top members can break things lose, sometimes it's the only way to get a deal. But, when you are dealing with legislation as complicated, unwieldy and multi-faceted as this when multiple interests are at play, it can be risky. Member of the bipartisan group have said they are consulting with key committee chairs and that's true, but some cracks have emerged like Sen. Tom Carper, a Democrat from Delaware and chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, who signaled last week he wouldn't back the bipartisan group's bill unless the water provisions were fully paid for. When you are trying to get 60 votes and can count on just a handful of Republicans to back a bill, you can't afford to lose Democrats on these big negotiations. What to watch this week Last week, liberal members were already growing tired of watching the bipartisan talks sputter along without a resolution. We've heard from Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Chris Murphy of Connecticut that it is time to move on and begin work on the Democratic-only reconciliation route. Some progressives have been saying this for more than a month. That fever pitch is only going to grow in the days ahead if this bipartisan group doesn't get a deal soon. Again, this effort is and always was in part about getting moderate Democrats to a point where they felt like bipartisanship was exhausted. If that yielded a deal, great. If it didn't, it might at least help clarify that the Democratic-only route was the right -- and only -- way left to go. Speaking of reconciliation Don't assume that if the bipartisan talks breakdown, Democrats' efforts to go it alone are going to materialize quickly. Schumer still doesn't have commitment from all 50 Democrats to back the budget resolution, which is the first step. And even if the budget passes, Democrats will spend the fall in an excruciatingly long caucus-wide debate about how far to expand the social safety net, how and where to raise taxes and whether it's the right time to try and force questions about expanding immigration and overhauling the cost of prescription drugs. Each one of these issues could face resistance within their own ranks. Each one of these issues could become a major campaign attack against vulnerable Democrats. And it is always a good reminder that Schumer cannot afford to lose a single vote.