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Photo: Sean Rayford/Getty Images

2020 Democratic contender Sen. Cory Booker proposed Thursday using executive action to offer clemency to thousands of nonviolent drug offenders on his first day in office, the New York Times reports.

The big picture: Booker's plan, which the Times calls the "broadest clemency initiative since the Civil War," is a fast-tracked version of his proposed Next Step Act, which is also built on addressing racial discrimination in drug-related arrests.

  • Criminal justice reform is one issue that has consistently received bipartisan support during the Trump administration with the passing of First Step Act, a piece of legislation that Booker co-sponsored.

Details: Booker's proposal would create a bipartisan Executive Clemency Panel as a part of the executive branch that would review inmates eligible to be released under executive order — without requiring any action from the inmates themselves.

  • Booker's campaign estimated that most of the panel's staff would be found through reassigned federal employees, keeping costs low as a result.

What he's saying: "The War on Drugs has been a war on people, tearing families apart, ruining lives, and disproportionately affecting people of color and low-income individuals — all without making us safer," Booker said in a statement.

  • "Granting clemency won’t repair all the damage that has been done by the War on Drugs and our broken criminal justice system, but it will help our country confront this injustice and begin to heal."

Go deeper: Where the top 2020 Democrats stand on criminal justice reform

Go deeper

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker will not seek re-election in 2022

Mass. Gov. Charlie Baker (R) speaking during a press conference in November 2021. Photo: Jonathan Wiggs/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R), a moderate who typically ranks as one of the nation's most popular governors, said Wednesday that he and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito (R) will not seek third terms in 2022.

Why it matters: The decision leaves the gubernatorial race wide open and will likely affect multiple down-ballot races next year. Baker was expected to be the front-runner had he joined the race.

3 hours ago - Health

CDC prepares tougher testing rules for international travelers

Travelers with their luggage arrive at a COVID-19 testing location at the airport in Los Angeles, Calif., on Nov. 23, 2021. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday night that it is working to impose stricter testing requirements for international travelers due to the spread of the new Omicron variant.

The big picture: The new rules would require all international travelers, regardless of vaccination status, to show a negative test taken a day before their flight to the U.S. Currently, the CDC says fully vaccinated travelers are allowed to show a test taken no more than three days before their departure, AP reports.

Republicans threaten to shut down government over vaccine mandates

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) in the Capitol in November 2020. Photo: Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

Conservative Republicans in the House and Senate are planning to force a government shutdown Friday to deny funding needed to enforce the Biden administration's vaccine mandates on the private sector, according to Politico.

Why it matters: Congress has until the end of the week to pass a stopgap measure to extend funding into 2022, though objection from a small group of Republicans could shut down the government.