When talks to extend emergency coronavirus unemployment relief broke down last month in Washington, U.S. Sen. Cory Booker blamed his wealthy colleagues for the impasse.
“I’m a little frustrated that a body dominated by millionaires — I’m not one of them — is going to focus on just a few hundred extra bucks and try to cut that out from under so many millions of American families,” Booker, a New Jersey Democrat, said in an interview with NJTV News.
We wondered how many members of Congress’ upper chamber really are millionaires.
Net worth data compiled by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics for 2018, the most recent year available, shows that almost two-thirds of U.S. senators have a net worth exceeding $1 million. A few of them are exceptionally wealthy.
The financial disclosure forms lawmakers fill out don’t require exact values, only ranges. So the Center for Responsive Politics calculates lawmakers’ net worth by adding their range of assets, subtracting their range of liabilities, and calculating the midpoint of the resulting range.
Rick Scott, a Florida Republican, and Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat, are the body’s wealthiest lawmakers. Each reported a net worth of more than $200 million, the data show.
Two other senators reported net worth greater than $100 million: Mitt Romney, the former presidential candidate and Utah Republican, and Mike Braun, an Indiana Republican.
Fifty-seven other lawmakers reported net worth between $1 million and $100 million, including Pennsylvania Republican Pat Toomey, who is worth about $2 million, the data show.
In the past, Roll Call analyzed lawmaker wealth by focusing on minimum net worth.
Booker’s comments came as the extra federal unemployment benefits Congress approved early in the pandemic were set to expire and negotiations over the next relief package stalled. Democrats want to keep offering unemployed Americans an extra $600 a week. Republicans want to see the extra benefits scaled back or eliminated.
Booker argued that the Senate’s millionaires don’t support extending the more generous benefits because they don’t know what it’s like to need that money for food and rent. But the Center for Responsive Politics data show that 25 of the Senate’s millionaires are Democrats who want to continue the expanded support.
Besides Warner, the wealthiest Senate Democrats are Dianne Feinstein of California and Michael Bennett of Colorado.
So, is Booker a millionaire too?
His net worth is $807,503, the data show. He has a checking account, a savings account, a pension, a money-market account, and several IRAs. His staff also provided a copy of the financial disclosure form Booker filed with the Senate, and it shows the same.
The data show that Pennsylvania Democrat Bob Casey also has net worth below $1 million.
Booker said that the Senate is “dominated by millionaires” and that he is “not one of them.” Roughly two-thirds of U.S. senators are millionaires, and no, Booker isn’t one of them, data show. We rate this statement True.
The Center for Responsive Politics, “Net Worth - 2018,” accessed Aug. 7, 2020
The United States Senate Financial Disclosures, “Annual Report for Calendar 2018, The Honorable Cory A Booker (Booker, Cory),” accessed Aug. 7, 2020
Roll Call, “Wealth of Congress: Ranking the Net Worth of the 115th,” February 2018
PolitiFact, “Yes, Congress has disproportionate share of millionaires, but claim’s numbers are off,” Jan. 12, 2020