“Attorney General Barr’s decision directing the Bureau of Prisons to resume executions of people on death-row is disturbing and does nothing to advance the cause of justice. It’s reflective of the attorney general’s persistent and historic resistance to meaningful reform of our broken criminal justice system... Throughout our nation’s history, we have seen how the death penalty is not only ineffective and immoral, but also fraught with biases against people of color, low-income individuals, and those with mental illness. It is a waste of taxpayer dollars and does nothing to improve public safety. Instead, capital punishment seeks to satisfy a desire for vengeance and retribution. Our government must represent the best of who we are, not the worst. We can, and should, do better.”
Source: Sulaiman Abdur-Rahman, "Feds Resume Death Penalty Executions, U.S. Sen. Cory Booker Objects," trentonian.com, July 28, 2019
Pro Should Universal Background Checks for Gun Purchases Be Made Law?
"Just as a driver’s license demonstrates a person’s eligibility and proficiency to drive a car, a gun license demonstrates that a person is eligible and can meet certain basic safety and training standards necessary to own a gun.
Here’s how it would work: Individuals could seek a gun license at a designated local office, widely available in urban and rural areas, similar to applying for or renewing a passport. They would submit fingerprints, provide basic background information, and demonstrate completion of a certified gun safety course."
Source: Cory Booker, "Cory's Plan to End the Gun Violence Epidemic," medium.com, May 6, 2019
Pro Should Recreational Marijuana Be Legal Federally?
"The failed War on Drugs has really been a war on people—disproportionately criminalizing poor people, people of color & people with mental illness. I’m reintroducing the #MarijuanaJustice Act to begin reversing our failed federal drug policies...
The Marijuana Justice Act doesn't just end the federal prohibition on marijuana—it also incentivizes states to change their marijuana laws if those laws are being enforced in a way that disproportionately impacts people of color and the poor.
Black people are 3.7 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than their white peers even though they use marijuana at similar rates. If we truly want to be a fair and just nation we need to correct for this disparate treatment of enforcement practices...
Finally, my bill includes community reinvestment provisions like job training for areas hardest hit by the failed drug war—to make them more economically vibrant, fair and just. Let's make marijuana legal but also invest in undoing the damage done by a war gone horribly wrong."
"I will use reconciliation to roll back the Trump tax credits and do the kind of things that I think, to have a tax system that reflects our our values, our morals and frankly is better for our economy. You know, giving a hedge fund guy, to be able to pay lower percent of his salary in taxes than a teacher doesn’t reflect our values nor does it reflect what’s best for our economy."
Source: Pod Save America, "2020: Cory Booker on Radical Love and the Filibuster," crooked.com, Mar. 20, 2019
"For too long, America’s economic agenda has centered on further enriching the already-rich, with massive windfalls for multinational companies, tax breaks for the wealthy, and trade deals that boost corporate profits at the expense of hard-working Americans.
As president, Cory will pursue an ambitious agenda to build an economy where everyone has a stake in its success... [including a plan to] Raise the minimum wage to $15/hour."
Source: Cory Booker, "Economic Security and Opportunity," corybooker.com (accessed July 29, 2019)
Not Clearly Pro or Con Should Student Loan Debt Be Forgiven?
"Student loan debt is holding millions of Americans back from buying their first home, starting families, and starting new businesses. We should start by looking at means-tested debt forgiveness for those who work in public service professions like teaching. As President, I would also work to reduce the burden of student debt by allowing eligible student loan borrowers to refinance their federal loans, and allowing eligible student loan borrowers to refinance their private loans into the federal program."
Source: Washington Post, "Should the Government Cancel Existing Student Debt, and If So, for Everyone or Based on Income?," washingtonpost.com (accessed Sep. 9, 2019)
[Editor's Note: Cory Booker co-sponsored the Debt Free College Act in Mar. 2019 that would "establish State-Federal partnerships to provide students the opportunity to attain higher education at in-State public institutions of higher education without debt."
Source: Congress.gov, "S.672 - Debt Free College Act of 2019," congress.gov (accessed Aug. 29, 2019)]
"Today, student loans are the fastest growing segment of US household debt, and too many young people see college as out of reach.
As president, Cory will fight for every young person’s right to pursue their dreams — whether that’s pursuing higher education without crushing student loan debt, starting a small business or getting on the job skills training through an apprenticeship program or vocational training schools:
Establish a path to debt-free college, because choosing to pursue higher education should not mean a lifetime of debt... [and] Make tuition-free community college and vocational training a reality across the country."
Source: Cory Booker, "College and Workforce Training," corybooker.com (accessed July 29, 2019)
Audience member: "Do you believe there should be some type of reform to the Electoral College or should it remain as it is?"
Booker: "I believe very simply that in presidential elections the person with the most votes should be the President of the United States. But, I want to tell you, for us to ever get to a point where we can address that issue, we have got to win this next election under the rules that are there now."
Source: Rachel Frazin, "Booker: The Person with the Most Votes Should Be the President," thehill.com, Mar. 27, 2019
Con Should the US Expand Fossil Fuel Extraction on Public Land?
"Beginning on Day One in office, Cory will put a moratorium on all new fossil fuel leases on public lands, rescind Trump’s executive orders to shrink national monuments, and restore protections for other critical cultural and natural areas including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the Boundary Waters, and supercharge deployment of renewable power sources like solar and wind on public lands and waters."
Source: Cory Booker, "Cory’s Plan to Address the Threat of Climate Change," corybooker.com (accessed Oct. 11, 2019)
Pro Should the US Adopt a Climate Change Plan such as the Green New Deal?
"The time to act is now for a 100% clean energy economy, millions of good-paying jobs, and a guaranteed right to clean air, water, and soil for all Americans.
Cory was an original cosponsor of the Green New Deal resolution in the Senate because he believes we need to act with an urgency and force that meets the scale of the challenge that we face. As president, Cory will unite Americans to heal our atmosphere, our lands, and our communities with a bold vision for achieving a 100% clean energy economy quickly and equitably. Together, we will create millions of new high-paying jobs building the energy technologies, infrastructure, buildings, and vehicles of the future. We will invent new technologies and materials as innovative and resilient as we are. And we will be a moral leader on the world stage.
The reality is that we can’t afford not to act. We spend more than $100 billion each year solely on the health impacts of burning fossil fuels, and have spent $450 billion on climate-related disasters in the last three years alone. A recent paper in the National Bureau of Economic Research found that the U.S. economy could shrink by more than 10 percent by 2100 if we don’t act decisively on climate change."
Source: Cory Booker, "Cory's Plan to Address the Threat of Climate Change," corybooker.com (accessed Sep. 3, 2019)
Not Clearly Pro or Con Should the US Re-Enter a Nuclear Deal with Iran?
"First and foremost, it was a mistake to pull out of that deal. And one of the reasons why we're seeing this hostility now is because Donald Trump is marching us to a far more dangerous situation. Literally, he took us out of a deal that gave us transparency into their nuclear program and pushed back a nuclear breakout 10, 20 years. And now we see Iran threatening to go further and who are pulled -- being pulled further and further into this crisis.
We need to renegotiate and get back into a deal, but I'm not going to have a primary platform to say unilaterally I'm going to rejoin that deal. Because when I'm president of the United States, I'm going to do the best I can to secure this country and that region and make sure that if I have an opportunity to leverage a better deal, I'm going to do it."
Source: Jeremia Kimelman, "Full Transcript: 2019 Democratic Debate Night One, Sortable by Topic," nbcnews.com, June 26, 2019
Con Should the US Have Withdrawn Troops from Northern Syria in Oct. 2019?
"This [a Turkish military offensive into Syria] was only a matter of 'when' after Trump's reckless decision to abruptly withdraw troops from Syria. We've completely abandoned our Kurdish allies—one of our most effective partners in fighting ISIS. Difficult to see how any of our allies can trust us after this betrayal."
Source: Cory Booker, Twitter.com, Oct. 9, 2019
[Editor's Note: Booker's above statement accompanied a retweet of an Oct.9, 2019 CNN Breaking News tweet that stated: "Turkey launches its military offensive into northeast Syria, Turkish President Erdogan says. The operation starts days after the Trump administration said it was pulling US troops back from the area."]
"All people deserve to control their own bodies. That’s why Cory fights alongside those working to protect the constitutional right to abortion and to ensure that everyone has real access to reproductive health care... As president, Cory will work to:
Nominate judges who are committed to upholding reproductive rights.
Pass legislation to codify the protections guaranteed by Roe v. Wade.
Create a White House Office of Reproductive Freedom charged with coordinating and affirmatively advancing abortion rights and access to reproductive health care."
Source: Cory Booker, "Reproductive Rights," corybooker.com (accessed Aug. 7, 2019)
Pro Should the US Switch to a Medicare-for-All Healthcare System?
"I stand by supporting Medicare for All, but I'm also that pragmatist that, when I'm chief executive of the country, like I was (as mayor of Newark, New Jersey), I'm going to find the immediate things that we can do. Because I'm telling you right now, we're not going to pull health insurance from 150 million Americans who have private insurance who like their insurance -- my union friends, brothers and sisters, who have negotiated for their health insurance. I believe if we're designing our system, Medicare for All is the right way to go. But I'm also realistic to say -- and you know this -- when I become President we may have only maybe a 50-50 tie in the Senate. And my vice president, whoever she is, is going to have to get a lot of exercise going to the Senate and breaking ties. We are going to have to do things that might get me towards my goal of expanding access and lowering cost [of healthcare]."
Source: Devan Cole, "Booker Doubles Down on Support of Both 'Medicare for All' and Private Insurance Plans," cnn.com, May 5, 2019
Con Should the US Continue to Build a Border Wall at the US/Mexico Border?
"We do have a problem at the southern border. Democrats should not deny that we [do]. Nations should have borders, borders should be respected.
And so, my beef with this president is that number one, his technologies don’t work. I’ve gone down to the border, I’ve hung out with [Customs and Border Protection] and other border patrol folks and they’re like, 'there’s no way we need a wall coast to coast.' We have a time now where you can use sensors and technologies and drones and a lot more to protect the border, which is what we should do.”
Source: Tal Axelrod, "Booker: 'We Do Have a Problem at the Southern Border' and 'Democrats Should Not Deny That,'" thehill.com, Apr. 16, 2019
Pro Should the US Decriminalize Illegal Border Crossings?
"[W]e are not going to just let people cross the border. An unlawful crossing is an unlawful crossing, if you do it in the civil courts, or if you do in the criminal courts.
But the criminal courts is what is giving Donald Trump the ability to truly violate the human rights of people coming to our country, who no one surrenders their human rights. And so, doing it through the civil courts means that you won't need these awful detention facilities that I have been to; seeing children sleeping on pavement, people being put in cages, nursing mothers, small children.
This is not necessary. We have seen, using the civil system, piloted programs that have 100 percent compliance with the civil courts, where people are evaluated. If they have no justifiable reason to be here, they are returned. If they are, like the people I met in Juarez, who were survivors of sexual assault, who we wouldn't even let come and present for asylum. We are butchering our values... and making ourselves less safe."
Source: NBC News, "Democratic Debate Transcript: July 31, 2019," nbcnews.com, July 31, 2019