Cory Booker on Government Reform
Mayor of Newark; N.J. Senator; 2020 presidential contender (withdrawn)
Black voters are pissed off and worried about Dems
I have a lifetime of experience with black voters; I've been one since I was 18. Nobody on this stage should need a focus group: Black voters are pissed off, and they're worried. They're pissed off because the only time our issues seem to be really paid
attention to are when politicians are looking for their vote. And they're worried because the Democratic Party, we don't want to miss this opportunity and lose because we are nominating someone that isn't trusted, doesn't have authentic connection.
Source: November Democratic primary debate in Atlanta
, Nov 20, 2019
Voter suppression most affects low-income minorities
In Georgia, it was the voter suppression, particularly of African-American communities, that prevented us from having Governor Stacey Abrams. The heartbeat bill here -- opposed by over 70 percent of Georgians, is the result from voter suppression.
This gets back to the issue about making sure we are fighting every day, that whoever is the nominee, they can overcome the attempts to suppress the votes, particularly of low-income and minority voters.
Source: November Democratic primary debate in Atlanta
, Nov 20, 2019
Paid family leave and child tax credit expansion for all
Afghanistan and the Congo have paid family leave. America should have paid family leave. And to see the challenges that parents are having struggling to hold down a job, struggling to find affordable child care,
and this is why my support for everything from paid family leave to expanding the child tax credit are really urgent and those plans are going to apply equally to everyone.
Source: CNN LGBT Town Hall 2020
, Oct 10, 2019
Must lead the fight against voter suppression
We lost the state of Michigan because everybody from Republicans to Russians were targeting the suppression of African American voters. We need to say that. If the African American vote in this state had been like it was four years earlier,
we would have won. We need to have a campaign that is ready for what's coming. An all-out assault, especially on the highest performing voter group in our coalition, which is black women. I will be a person that tries to fight against voter suppression.
Source: July Democratic Primary debate (second night in Detroit)
, Jul 31, 2019
10-day process to fire Russia probe special prosecutor
Republican Senator Thom Tillis is a lead sponsor of a bill to protect special counsel Robert Mueller from interference. The effort has not yet caught fire with most in his party. Many Republicans tell Tillis that the president will never sign it, so
his is a fruitless endeavor. Democrats, however, believe it amounts to a stern warning to the president even if the bill never becomes law.
Some of his colleagues are concerned. "It's not good politics in the end," said
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah). "It says you don't trust the president."
Tillis is working with Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) on the bill,
which would allow a special counsel a 10-day window to fight a potential removal by the Trump administration and could soon see a vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Source: Politico.com on Impeachment Proceedings against Trump
, Apr 16, 2018
Even billionaires need transparency in confirmation hearings
Q: Are Senate Democrats going to slow the pace of Trump's Cabinet confirmations?
BOOKER: Just in 2009, [Republican Senate leader] Mitch McConnell was a person saying, "Hey, we should get all the ethics information in before we do the hearings." These
people that Donald Trump has put up as his appointments to his cabinet are not like President Obama's people. These are people who are billionaires and have vast holdings, vast wealth. And the American people have a right to know if they're going to be
entering into those offices with conflicts of interest.
Q: What about Senator McConnell's point that you want to get the national security team up and running?
BOOKER: This is not a lot to ask, that people give transparency. We literally have a law--
the Ethics in Government Act--that puts specific requirements on transparency that are not being supported by Mitch McConnell right now. This is not a Republican or Democrat thing. This is about national security and knowing the conflicts.
Source: CBS Face the Nation 2017 interview by John Dickerson
, Jan 8, 2017
Declined lavish perks as Newark City Councilor
Even though being a council member is a part- time job, the Newark City Council is the highest-paid city council in the state, and the job promises a host of privileges that I felt were wrong. I did not accept many of the lavish perks.
I gave up a city car and refused to use expense accounts for things like personal meals and travel. But doing the right thing in the wrong way is often wrong. I regret the holier- than- thou, sanctimonious posture I sometimes took--the way
I didn't just refuse those things but wielded the decision like a sword of condemnation against some fellow council members.
I'd been elected to get things done, and the biggest issue for my constituents wasn't
City Council compensation of expense accounts--which I didn't have a shot at changing anyway. People hadn't elected me to point out what was wrong with my colleagues. They'd elected me to find ways to work with them and to get something accomplished.
Source: United, by Senator Cory Booker, p. 59-60
, Feb 16, 2016
Seek common ground to achieve transformative change
In my first year in office, I was achieving little of the transformative change I sought. I must have been breaking records in Newark history for being outvoted eight to one. For a guy who talked a lot about change, I went about it in a bone headed way.
I didn't seek common ground with my colleagues; instead I walked in and sought to distinguish myself from them. I wanted to be the reformer, but by separating myself from them I undermined my ability to advance change.
Source: United, by Senator Cory Booker, p. 59
, Feb 16, 2016
Founding principle: make laws open to public debate
I was deeply troubled by recent revelations of the scope of the National Security Agency's domestic data collection. We failed as a nation to thoroughly debate and create public oversight before this highly questionable data collection began.
It is time to bring this program to light and fix that error.
It is a basic principle of our founding that laws be open to public debate and inspection.
We must update the rules that permitted this program to exist and ensure Congress, the courts, and the people have access and oversight. We need to vigorously guard our 4th Amendment privacy protections while still protecting Americans from terrorism.
There are serious questions about whether this program successfully does that, and we cannot ask these questions after the fact again.
Source: 2013-2014 New Jersey Senate campaign web CoryBooker.com
, Nov 3, 2013
Threat to voting rights in America remains very real
As we've seen in the Texas redistricting plan that federal courts last year described as intentionally discriminatory, the threat to voting rights in America remains very real. The Voting Rights Act has been instrumental in the fight against
violations of one of our most precious constitutional rights, and Congress must now act decisively in the wake of the Supreme Court's damaging decision and put in place updated, robust protections that once again give teeth to this vital law.
Source: 2013-2014 New Jersey Senate campaign web CoryBooker.com
, Nov 3, 2013
Campaign PAC money shouldn't speak louder than people
Booker tried to distinguish the differences between Democrats and Republicans: "To me no side has a monopoly on good ideas, but when I look at this [2012 GOP] platform, in many ways it's gotten a lot more extreme than even past Republican platforms and
that's very disturbing to me. But more importantly I want to bring light to that and I want the nation to see, look at the actual policies that each of these parties stand for and decide which you want," Booker said. "Take campaign finance reform--
for crying out loud, I mean this is incredible. This platform says pull back even more of the rules on campaign finance reform, get rid of McCain-Feingold," Booker, a co-chair on the Democratic platform committee, said. "This platform says well, wait
a minute, we're out of control right now with all this super PAC money, we want to find a way to put more fair rules on campaign finance reform so that money doesn't speak louder than people. And so that to me is very dramatic."
Source: Politifact.com FactCheck on 2014 New Jersey Senate race
, Sep 5, 2012
Make it harder for wealthy to influence politicians
Source: 2002 Newark NJ Mayoral campaign website CoryBooker.com
, Feb 7, 2002
- Campaign Finance Reform: Wrote systematic campaign finance reform legislation, making it more difficult for wealthy contractors to influence politicians.
Council Spending Reform: Passed legislation restricting council spending, mandating council expenditures be voted on in public meetings.
- Perk and Pay Raise Reform: Fought to end perks and pay raises for politicians, and voted against all pay raises.
- Turned down municipal car and advocated for others to do the same.
- Eliminated the use of expense accounts for personal meals or travel.
Fought to institute performance-based budgeting, creating more accountable department management.
Matching fund for small donors, with debate requirements.
Booker signed Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity Act
Congressional Summary:Fair Elections Now Act--Amends 1971 FECA with respect to:
- 500% matching payments to candidates for certain small dollar contributions;
- a public debate requirement;
- establishment of the Fair Elections Fund and of a Fair Elections Oversight Board;
- remission to the Fair Elections Fund of unspent funds after an election civil penalties for violation of contribution and expenditure requirements;
- Requires all designations, statements, and reports required to be filed under FECA to be filed directly with the FEC in electronic form accessible by computers.
Statement of support for corresponding Senate bill: (Sunlight Foundation) Now we bring you the Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity Act, a bill that should probably be the least controversial of all. S. 375 would simply require senators and Senate candidates to file their public campaign finance disclosure reports electronically with the Federal Election Commission,
the way House candidates and presidential candidates have been filing for over a decade. A version of the bill has been introduced during every congress starting in 2003 (!) yet it has been blocked repeatedly, a victim of political football.
Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., has introduced the most recent version, which would ensure that paper Senate campaign finance reports are a thing of the past. But even with 50 bipartisan cosponsors, the bill faces an uphill battle. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky, has repeatedly prevented the bill from coming to the Senate floor. We won't be deterred--as long as McConnell continues to block the bill, we'll continue to highlight that his intransigence results in delayed disclosure of vital, public campaign finance information, not to mention wasting $500,000 in taxpayer money annually. Eventually, we'll win.
Source: S375/H.R.269 14_S375 on Feb 25, 2013
Statehood for the District of Columbia.
Booker co-sponsored H.R.317
Congressional Summary: Sets forth procedures for admission into the United States of the state of New Columbia.
- Requires the Mayor of the District of Columbia to submit to the voters propositions for statehood and adoption of a State Constitution, and issue a proclamation for the first elections to Congress of two Senators and one Representative of New Columbia.
- Requires the President to issue a proclamation announcing the results and admitting New Columbia into the Union.
- Provides for conversion of District government offices to state offices.
Opponents reasons for voting NAY: (DCist.com, Sept. 2014): The Argument Against: Congress does not have the authority to grant statehood to D.C.; the 23rd amendment, which gave D.C. three electoral votes, would have to be repealed before statehood was granted. Washington is a wholly urban, one-industry town, dependent on the federal government far in excess of any other state.
Moreover, with Congress no longer having authority over New Columbia but dependent on it, New Columbia could exert influence on the federal government far in excess of any other state.
Supporters reasons for voting YEA: [Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-DC; the District of Columbia has one representative to Congress and no Senators; Rep. Holmes can introduce bills but her vote does not count]: This 51st state would have no jurisdiction over the federal territory or enclave that now consists of the Washington that Members of Congress and visitors associate with the capital of our country. Those would remain under federal jurisdiction. The New Columbia Admission Act was the first bill I introduced in 1991. Statehood is the only alternative for the citizens of the District of Columbia. To be content with less than statehood is to concede the equality of citizenship that is the birthright of our residents as citizens of the United States.
Source: New Columbia Admission Act 15_H317 on Jan 13, 2015
Automatic voter registration for all citizens.
Booker co-sponsored H.R.12 & S.1088
- Require each state to make available official public websites for online voter registration.
- Authorizes automated voter registration and establishes same day registration, and voter registration of individuals under 18 years of age.
- Declares that the right to vote shall not be denied because that individual has been convicted of a criminal offense.
Supporters reasons for voting YEA: (BrennanCenter.org): Too many Americans go to vote on Election Day only to find their names are not on the voter rolls--often, wrongly deleted. The US is on the verge of a new paradigm for registering voters: automatic, permanent registration of eligible voters, which would add up to 50 million eligible voters to the rolls.
Opponents reasons for voting NAY: (Gov. Christie's veto message on the "Democracy Act", Nov. 2015): Christie called a provision establishing automatic voter registration that requires
New Jerseyan to opt out a "government-knows-best, backwards approach that would inconvenience citizens and waste government resources for no justifiable reason." Automatic voter registration would have added 1.6 million people to the state's voter rolls.
Source: Voter Empowerment Act 15-S1088 on Mar 19, 2015
- TN-8: I have voted in every election federal, state or local that I chose to. If people want to vote there is nothing but laziness preventing them from doing so today! Regarding photo ID's you have one to drive, buy alcohol, and go to the doctor.
- AL-2: This bill is so general that anyone that is alive, has lived, or will live in this century will be able to vote as well as non-Americans, pets, people without voting rights, and some people multiple times.
- TN-3: This bill will surely bring about fixed voting in favor of the one who can cheat the most. How about having a voter photo card and a test to see if they are capable of voting and not just voting for whoever promises them more free stuff.
Sponsored bill for election holiday & easier voting access.
Booker co-sponsored For the People Act of 2019
- This bill expands voter registration and voting access, makes Election Day a federal holiday, and limits removing voters from voter rolls.
- The bill provides for states to establish independent, nonpartisan redistricting commissions.
- The bill also sets forth provisions for sharing intelligence information with state election officials, and supporting states in securing their election systems, and establishing the National Commission to Protect U.S. Democratic Institutions.
- This bill addresses campaign spending, by expanding the ban on foreign nationals contributing to or spending on elections; and expanding disclosure rules.
- This bill establishes an alternative campaign funding system [with] federal matching of small contributions for qualified candidates.
- The bill also requires candidates for President and Vice President to submit 10 years of tax returns.
Opposing argument from the Heritage Foundation, 2/1/2019: HR1 federalizes and micromanages
the election process administered by the states, imposing unnecessary mandates on the states and reversing the decentralization of the American election process. What HR1 Would Do:
- Seize the authority of states to regulate the voting process by forcing states to implement early voting, automatic voter registration, same-day registration, online voter registration, and no-fault absentee balloting.
- Make it easier to commit fraud at the polls through same-day registration, as election officials have no time to verify the accuracy of voter registration.
- Degrade the accuracy of registration lists by automatically registering individuals from state databases, such as DMV.
- Cripple the effectiveness of state voter ID laws by allowing individuals to vote without an ID and merely signing a statement in which they claim they are who they say they are.
Legislative outcome: Passed House 234-193-5 on 3/8/19; received with no action in Senate thru 12/31/2019
Source: H.R.1 &S.949 19-S949 on Jan 3, 2019
Voted YES on two articles of impeachment against Trump.
Booker voted YEA Impeachment of President Trump
RESOLUTION: Impeaching Donald Trump for high crimes and misdemeanors.
ARTICLE I: ABUSE OF POWER: Using the powers of his high office, Pres. Trump solicited the interference of a foreign government, Ukraine, in the 2020 US Presidential election. He did so through a course of conduct that includedThese actions were consistent with Pres. Trump's previous invitations of foreign interference in US elections.
- Pres. Trump--acting both directly and through his agents--corruptly solicited the Government of Ukraine to publicly announce investigations into a political opponent, former Vice President Joseph Biden; and a discredited theory promoted by Russia alleging that Ukraine--rather than Russia--interfered in the 2016 US Presidential election.
- With the same corrupt motives, Pres. Trump conditioned two official acts on the public announcements that he had requested: (A) the release of $391 million that Congress had appropriated for the purpose of providing vital military and security assistance to Ukraine to oppose Russian aggression; and (B) a head of state meeting at the White House,
which the President of Ukraine sought.
- Faced with the public revelation of his actions, Pres. Trump ultimately released the [funds] to the Government of Ukraine, but has persisted in openly soliciting Ukraine to undertake investigations for his personal political benefit.
ARTICLE II: OBSTRUCTION OF CONGRESS:These actions were consistent with Pres. Trump's previous efforts to undermine US Government investigations into foreign interference in US elections.
Source: Congressional vote ImpeachK on Dec 18, 2019
- Pres. Trump defied a lawful subpoena by withholding the production of documents sought [by Congress];
- defied lawful subpoenas [for] the production of documents and records;
- and directed current and former Executive Branch officials not to cooperate with the Committees.
Other candidates on Government Reform:
Cory Booker on other issues:
Senate races 2019-20:
Senate Votes (analysis)
Page last updated: Oct 20, 2020