Cory Booker on Welfare & Poverty
Mayor of Newark; N.J. Senator; 2020 presidential contender (withdrawn)
We've got to start empowering people. We use our tax code to move wealth up, the mortgage interest deduction. My plan is very simple. If you're a renter who pays more than 1/3 of your income in rent, then you will get a refundable tax credit between the amount you're paying and the area median rent. That empowers [renters] in the same way we empower homeowners.
And it actually slashes poverty, 10 million people out. And by the way, for those people who are facing eviction, it is about time that the only people when they show up in rentals court that have a lawyer is not the landlord, it is also low-income families struggling to stay in their homes.
[A similar bill by presidential rival Kamala Harris], the Middle Class Act and Rent Relief Act, would cost $93 billion a year and provide $42 billion to people in poverty. Booker's HOME Act, which costs significantly more per year than Harris's rental bill, accordingly provides $51.9 billion to households in poverty.
New Jersey was happy to place in Newark a state prison, a county jail, waste disposal sites, sewage treatment facilities, halfway houses, drug treatment centers. A grossly disproportionate share of public and low- income housing, and other necessary public goods that wouldn't be located in surrounding suburban towns. Despite this, Newark still boasted New Jersey's finest cultural institutions, including the state's largest public library and museum. It was the state's largest college town and it was home to massive job generators such as Newark Liberty International Airport.
There was a tenacious resolve in Newark to show the world a truth that would upset shallow assertions that Newark was dead. There was a vast communal will to demonstrate that this once great city would rise again.
HUD polices were put in place that directed the building of densely clustered low-income and public housing into urban spaces. Newark's nickname, "Brick City," is derived from the federal policy to pack low-income housing into Newark and not diffusely throughout the state of New Jersey, where the impact of poverty on families would have been mitigated.
The Stronger Way Act establishes a new transitional jobs grant program. This will build a new federal partnership with state and local governments, businesses, and non-profit organizations.
The Stronger Way Act increases the rate at which the Earned Income Tax Credit phases in for working families with children to both encourage work and target additional dollars to low-income working families. Workers with earnings above 50% of the poverty line receive the maximum EITC. Currently, a childless adult working full-time and earning minimum wage receives little to no EITC and can be taxed into poverty. We need to make work pay for everyone by extending this tax credit to workers without children.
BOOKER: I'm going to be running around our state finding very substantive pragmatic ways to make change. And there are implications to federal policy. For example, New Jersey does not do a great job collecting its earned income tax credit money. Now, this is a federal program that I'm going to be fighting for, that I have experienced in Newark significantly increasing the EITC collections by doing public-private partnerships with local grassroots activists to set up free tax center. In fact, we set one up in the basement of city hall. And so, as a mayor, I know the urgencies of the moment and how it reflects to changing federal policies, whether it is common sense background checks, whether is if how program like the EITC or child tax care credits actually make a difference for working families.
At the age of 28, with prestigious clerkships and six-figure salaries on the horizon, he moved into a "penthouse apartment" in Brick Towers, one of Newark's worst housing projects, with the aim of helping tenants.
Booker lived there for eight years, through winters without heat or hot water, often walking up and down the fifteen flights of stairs when the elevator wasn't working. Gayle King, the CBS morning-news anchor who has become a close friend, says that by the time she started visiting him there a few years later, he no longer noticed the smell of urine in the hallways.
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Senate races 2019-20:
AK: Sullivan(R,incumbent) vs.Gross(I) vs.
AL: Jones(D,incumbent) vs.Tuberville(R) vs.
AR: Cotton(R,incumbent) vs.Harrington(L) vs.
AZ: McSally(R,incumbent) vs.Kelly(D)
CO: Gardner(R,incumbent) vs.Hickenlooper(D) vs.
DE: Coons(D,incumbent) vs.
GA-2: Isakson(R,resigned) Loeffler(R,appointed) vs.Warnock(D) vs.Collins(R) vs.Tarver(D) vs.
GA-6: Perdue(R,incumbent) vs.Ossoff(D) vs.Hazel(L) vs.Tomlinson(D) vs.Terry(D)
IA: Ernst(R,incumbent) vs.Greenfield(D) vs.
ID: Risch(R,incumbent) vs.Jordan(D) vs.
IL: Durbin(D,incumbent) vs.Curran(R) vs.
KS: Roberts(R,retiring) vs.Marshall(R) vs.Bollier(D) vs.
KY: McConnell(R,incumbent) vs.McGrath(D) vs.
LA: Cassidy(R,incumbent) vs.Perkins(D) vs.
MA: Markey(D,incumbent) vs.O`Connor(R) vs.Ayyadurai(R) vs.
ME: Collins(R,incumbent) vs.Gideon(D) vs.
MI: Peters(D,incumbent) vs.James(R) vs.Squier(G)
MN: Smith(D,incumbent) vs.Lewis(R) vs.Overby(G) vs.
MS: Hyde-Smith(R,incumbent) vs.Espy(D) vs.
MT: Daines(R,incumbent) vs.Bullock(D) vs.
NC: Tillis(R,incumbent) vs.Cunningham(D) vs.
NE: Sasse(R,incumbent) vs.Janicek(R)
NH: Shaheen(D,incumbent) vs.Messner(R) vs.
NJ: Booker(D,incumbent) vs.Mehta(R) vs.
NM: Udall(D,retiring) vs.Lujan(D) vs.Ronchetti(R) vs.Walsh(L) vs.
OK: Inhofe(R,incumbent) vs.Broyles(D) vs.
OR: Merkley(D,incumbent) vs.Perkins(R) vs.
RI: Reed(D,incumbent) vs.Waters(R)
SC: Graham(R,incumbent) vs.Harrison(D) vs.
SD: Rounds(R,incumbent) vs.Ahlers(D) vs.
TN: Alexander(R,retiring) vs.Hagerty(R) vs.Bradshaw(D) vs.
TX: Cornyn(R,incumbent) vs.Hegar(D) vs.
VA: Warner(D,incumbent) vs.
WV: Capito(R,incumbent) vs.Swearengin(D) vs.
WY: Enzi(R,retiring) vs.Lummis(R) vs.Ben-David(D) vs.
Senate Votes (analysis)