From left, Democratic presidential candidates, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., former Vice President Joe Biden, talks before a Democratic presidential primary debate, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020, in Charleston, S.C.
(The Center Square) – A task force created by presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., his former political rival, released policy recommendations for the Democratic Party Convention platform committee to consider.
Called the “unity platform,” it emphasizes expanded federal spending and taxation in nearly all platform areas. It calls for increased federal funding for housing, infrastructure, Social Security, and a large-scale government-run jobs program, and increases taxes on higher income earners.
“Though the end result is not what I or my supporters would have written alone, the task forces have created a good policy blueprint that will move this country in a much-needed progressive direction,” Sanders said.
Biden said the plan was a “bold, transformative platform for our party and for our country.”
“This is not a unity group, this is surrendering to the socialists,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., told “Fox & Friends” Thursday.
“Joe has a long history of doing nothing,” McCarthy said, “but now he shows that he’ll even surrender to the socialist wing of the party, because remember, Bernie Sanders is not a Democrat, he was registered as a socialist, ran as a socialist and that’s what the new wing of the party is craving.”
While it does not include a “Medicare-for-All” plan that Sanders supports, the proposal calls for the establishment of a “high-quality public option plan … without deductibles” administered by the federal government, not private companies.
According to the document, “Democrats will also make available on the marketplace a platinum-level, federally administered health insurance option with low fees and no deductibles, so that everyone will have access to this high-quality, low-cost plan. Low income Americans will be automatically enrolled in this federally administered option at zero cost to them.” Seniors would be able to enroll in Medicare at age 60 instead of age 65.
The proposal includes implementing 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave, a $15 minimum wage, and support for a House bill that “would establish a commission to examine how the legacy of 246 years of slavery and another century of Jim Crow segregation continues to impact the economic prospects of Black Americans today, and to recommend remedies.”
Recommendations also include extending Affordable Care Act coverage to individuals who fall under the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, and allowing illegal immigrants to purchase unsubsidized coverage in the ACA marketplace.
The proposal also repeals several Trump administration policies related to travel bans, asylum, and migration, and calls for a “roadmap to citizenship,” which includes Biden’s 100-day moratorium on deportations of illegal immigrants and would transform ICE and Border Protection enforcement policies and practices.
The proposal would expand the free meal program in K-12 schools, triple Title 1 funding, ban for-profit private charter schools, oppose private school vouchers, and reinstate Obama-era Title IX transgender student requirements.
It would also fund grants for historically black colleges and universities, make tuition at community colleges free, forgive up to $50,000 worth of student debt for graduates employed in public service, and cancel loans for public servants, teachers and disabled students.
Republican National Committee spokesman Steve Guest tweeted that the task force had plagiarized numerous sections “word-for-word” from Sanders’ platform.
“The fact Joe Biden has embraced Bernie Sanders’ radical agenda verbatim is proof that while Bernie may not be the one leading the Democrat Party, Biden is more than happy to be his champion in its lurch to the left,” Guest tweeted. He also referred to Biden’s previous plagiarism scandals, saying, “Bottom Line: Joe Biden has years of experience copying from others, now his task force is straight up copying from Bernie’s 2020 campaign proposals.”