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Biden attempts to woo Sanders supporters with Medicare expansion, college debt forgiveness

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Sanders has not endorsed Biden, the Democrats' presumptive nominee

(MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic Party's presumptive presidential nominee, lurched further left on two major policy positions Thursday in an effort to win over the supporters of socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who recently dropped out of the race.

Biden proposed lowering the age of eligibility for Medicare and forgiving a vast amount of student loan debt in a nod to Sanders, who has thus far resisted endorsing Biden.

What are the details?

In a post on Medium, Biden promised that if elected to the White House, he would lower the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 60 and "forgive all undergraduate tuition-related federal student debt from two- and four-year public colleges and universities for debt-holders earning up to $125,000."

Biden wrote, "Senator Sanders and his supporters can take pride in their work in laying the groundwork for these ideas, and I'm proud to adopt them as part of my campaign at this critical moment in responding to the coronavirus crisis."

Sanders — who dropped out of the race on Wednesday and did not immediately endorse Biden — is a proponent of Medicare for All and canceling all student loan debt.

CBS News reported:

While no cost has been quoted in this plan, similar plans by Biden's former primary rivals were criticized for their high sticker price. The Biden campaign said the new loan forgiveness would be funded by targeting and repealing the 'excess business losses' tax cut in the recently-passed COVID-relief plan called the CARES Act. The campaign argued this tax cut does not address the current pandemic relief efforts and the 'richest Americans' are the main beneficiaries.

Anything else?

Biden currently faces what The Hill referred to as the "tough task of uniting Democrats" ahead of the November election.

In a piece published by Fox News on Thursday, Paul Steinhauser wrote, "While winning Sanders over is step one, securing the support of his followers is a much larger step two."

Steinhauser also noted that "going too far leaves Biden even more vulnerable to attacks from President [Donald] Trump that he's pushing a socialist agenda. Trump and his allies have hammered the message since the beginning of the cycle that the Democratic Party has drifted far to the left of most Americans."

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