New Jersey Democrat Cory Booker announced early Friday morning that he’s officially jumping into an already crowded race for the presidency in 2020.
After months of speculation, the high-profile senator confirmed his candidacy with a new website and a tweet in which he shared a two-minute long campaign launch video.
“I believe that we can build a country where no one is forgotten, no one is left behind; where parents can put food on the table; where there are good-paying jobs with good benefits in every neighborhood,” Booker said in the video.
Booker -- who will be joining the likes of progressives like Sens. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., in the Democratic field -- is viewed as a more business-friendly liberal.
Taxes: The New Jersey Democrat in 2011 endorsed a cut to federal spending, and proposed tax incentives in urban areas to stimulate hiring. Booker will likely tout his work with Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., to create “opportunity zones” (which are essentially a form of a tax-break in low-income neighborhoods) as part of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, as reported by Politico.
And in November, Booker introduced a bill intended to combat mass wealth inequality, which would be paid for making “common sense reforms to federal estate and inheritance taxes,” and by restoring the 2009 estate tax law.
"Everyone in America should have a real shot to succeed, but federal policy over decades and an upside down tax code that heaps benefits on the very rich and big corporations have grown the gap between those who have much and those who have little,” Booker said at the time.
MInimum wage: In 2017, Booker threw his support behind a bill introduced by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., another potential presidential contender, that would have raised the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour.
The minimum wage working at a lot of these contract companies only affords them about $22,000 a year,” he said about two years ago, according to NJ.com. “You cannot live and raise a family on $22,000 a year. You can't afford housing, you can't afford child care and since your company isn't helping you with retirement, you can't save for retirement."
Wall Street: During the 2013-2014 election cycle, Booker -- who had two races in that time period -- received a whopping $2.21 million from the securities and investment industry, making him the No. 1 recipient of Wall Street money during that cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. He was trailed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, who received about $1.7 million.
Booker also drew some heat from fellow Democrats when, in 2012 (then mayor of Newark), he criticized the Obama campaign for attacking then-Republican nominee Mitt Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital. He called the attacks on private equity “nauseating” and “ridiculous.”
Jobs: Booker introduced a bill in April -- the Federal Jobs Guarantee Development Act -- that would establish a three-year pilot program in which the Department of Labor would choose up to 15 local areas and offer that area funding so that every adult would be guaranteed a job, receiving at least $15 an hour, according to Vox.
“The federal jobs guarantee is an idea that demands to be taken seriously,” he said in a statement. “Creating an employment guarantee would give all Americans a shot at a day’s work and, by introducing competition into the labor market, raise wages and improve benefits for all workers.”
Housing: Following a similar proposal by Harris in July, Booker in August unveiled the Housing, Opportunity, Mobility and Equity (HOME) Act of 2018. The proposal was intended to alleviate the affordable housing crisis by creating tax credits for renters; zoning policies to increase the affordable housing stock and savings incentives, according to Curbed.
The legislation, which did not pass, would have allowed renters to defer 20 percent of their tax credit to a “rainy day savings program,” in order to help families cover expenses that could potentially force them to miss rental payments.