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Biden adopts parts of Sanders' policies: lowering Medicare age and forgiving some college debt

Bernie Sanders suspends 2020 campaign

A day after Bernie Sanders dropped out of the Democratic primary race, Joe Biden, the party's likely  nominee, has already implemented two elements of the Democratic socialist's agenda and credited Sanders' energetic movement with the change.

"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," Biden stated in a release.

First, Biden said he now favors dropping the Medicare eligibility age by five years, to age 60, a step toward the Vermont senator's marquee single-payer plan, "Medicare for All." The campaign describes this as an effort to present older Americans who are working and not yet at retirement age to have the benefits of the popular government program. The campaign says the additional costs would "be financed out of general revenues to protect the Medicare Trust Fund."

Second, Biden wants to forgive student loan debt for those earning up to $125,000, who attended public colleges, Historically Black Colleges or Universities, or private minority-serving institutions. The plan would address all current student debt and future debt if the borrower is eligible, the campaign confirmed to CBS News.

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.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Biden said the government should cancel at least $10,000 of student debt per person, an idea floated by another former rival, Elizabeth Warren.

On Tuesday, Biden said he hoped Sanders would be a part of "the journey," and CBS News reported previously the Biden and Sanders campaigns for the last several weeks have discussed policy initiatives and how Sanders could impact the ongoing campaign.

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