Presumptive Democratic Party presidential nominee Joe Biden has been strong-armed by self-proclaimed socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) to jointly propose a series of left-wing policies. Biden, long seen as a political moderate in the Senate, has undertaken more radical and left-wing proposals to appease his party’s younger and more radical base.
Sanders, who ran against Biden in the presidential primaries, has shown considerable political clout since dropping out of the race. His joint proposal with Biden reflected his influence within the Democratic Party.
As Inside Higher Ed noted, Biden’s joint proposal with Sanders spanned over one-hundred pages and covered subjects such as climate change and higher education. Among the higher education proposals, Sanders and Biden proposed canceling up to $10,000 in student loan debt per borrower during the coronavirus pandemic.
Sanders had previously called to cancel all student loan debt, which totals at least $1.6 trillion.
The joint proposal sought to exempt individuals making under $25,000 a year from being forced to make monthly payments on their student loans without interest. For individuals making more than $25,000 a year, their payments cannot exceed more than five-percent of discretionary income. After twenty years, their remaining loan balances will be forgiven by the federal government.
Bankruptcy is another method for borrowers to avoid paying student loans, according to the proposal.
Adding to that, Biden advocated for making college tuition- free at four-year universities and two-year community colleges for individuals who make less than $125,000 a year. Illegal immigrant students also would qualify for tuition-free college education under the proposal.
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the 2020 presidential race has mostly taken a backseat and it has sidelined policy discussions and contrasts between incumbent President Donald Trump and his challenger Joe Biden. Also, Biden’s joint proposal with Sanders ignored the questions of which Americans will shoulder the burden of free college tuition and student loan forgiveness.