Former Vice President Joe Biden is attempting to unify the Democratic Party by embracing some of former frontrunner Bernie Sanders‘ progressive ideas regarding healthcare and student debt.
Biden announced Thursday that he would lower the eligibility age for Medicare from 65 to 60 and expand student debt forgiveness programs to encompass low-income and middle-class people who attended public colleges and universities, historically black colleges and universities, and other institutions that serve students of color.
“Sen. Sanders and his supporters can take pride in their work in laying the groundwork for these ideas,” Biden said in a statement announcing the proposals.
Sanders suspended his presidential bid Wednesday, as Biden became the clear nominee. Top Sanders aides had been speaking with the Biden campaign in the days leading up to Sanders’ exit to persuade him to embrace some of the Vermont senator’s progressive ideas.
“Joe, he’s not going to adopt my platform. I got that,” Sanders said Wednesday on Stephen Colbert’s The Late Show. “But if he can move in that direction, I think people will say this is a guy that we should support and will support.”
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Sanders did not explicitly endorse Biden after suspending his campaign, but emphasized that defeating President Donald Trump in November is his utmost priority.
He said Biden is “a very decent man who I will work with to move our progressive ideas forward,” but added that his name would remain on primary ballots in an attempt to influence the party’s platform at the Democratic convention.
“Then together, standing united we will go forward to defeat Donald Trump, the most dangerous president in modern American history,” he said.
Biden has been working to encourage Sanders supporters to join his campaign since the senator left the race.
Biden said his former rival has “created a movement” and “changed the dialogue in America,” in a statement after Sanders dropped out. He acknowledged the differences in their political views but emphasized the need for a continued conversation with the senator and his supporters.
“I hope you will join us. You are more than welcome. You’re needed,” Biden said to Sanders’ supporters.
“I’m committed to seeing that these good ideas, wherever I can find them on every issue, are brought into the campaign,” Biden said Wednesday of some of Sanders’ ideas.