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Updates To The Biden Plan To Grow A Stronger, More Inclusive Middle Class

Joe Biden is running for president to rebuild the middle class so that this time everyone comes along — no matter their race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, disability, or zip code. To accomplish a task this immense, we need to unite the country and bring all of the best minds to the table. Biden is — and as President will continue to be — open to the best ideas to make this a reality, regardless of where they come from.

In that spirit, today, Biden is adopting two ideas championed by Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren that will help grow a stronger, more inclusive middle class. Senator Sanders, Senator Warren, and Vice President Biden share the goal of strengthening college as a reliable pathway to the middle class and ensuring that no American is unable to reach or to stay in the middle class because of insurmountable debt. These policies are detailed below.

Making Public College Tuition-Free for All Families With Incomes Below $125,000

Joe Biden has long said that when it comes to public education in America, we’re starting too late and ending too soon — and that if we were building the public education system in America today it would extend from pre-k, starting with 3 and 4 year olds through ensuring 16 years of education is affordable. In today’s increasingly globalized and technology-driven economy, 12 years of education is no longer enough for American workers to remain competitive and earn a middle class income and roughly 6 in 10 jobs require some education beyond a high school diploma. As Biden has traveled across the country meeting with voters for the past 11 months, young voters have shared their challenges paying for college and how important this issue is to them. For too many, earning a degree or other credential after high school is unaffordable. For others, their education saddles them with so much debt it prevents them from buying a home or saving for retirement, or their parents or grandparents take on some of the financial burden. Last year, Biden released his plan to make pre-school available for 3 and 4 year olds and for education beyond high school, including making sure everyone can attend two-years of community college without debt, doubling the maximum value of Pell grants, and making a $70 billion investment in Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority-Serving Institutions.

Today, Biden is adding to his agenda by adopting Senator Sanders’ proposal to make public colleges and universities tuition-free for all students whose family incomes are below $125,000. This proposal, part of Senator Sanders and Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal’s College for All Act of 2017, will help roughly 8 out of every 10 families. In addition to his $70 billion investment in HBCUs and MSIs, Biden will also invest additional funds in private, non-profit four-year Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges and Universities, and under-resourced Minority-Serving Institutions and require these schools to use the additional funds to lower costs for low-income and middle-class students.

Fixing Our Bankruptcy System

Biden is adopting Senator Warren’s comprehensive proposal, Fixing Our Bankruptcy System to Give People a Second Chance. In 2005, Biden worked hard to add progressive reforms to a bankruptcy bill that was going to be passed with or without him. Today, he agrees firmly with Senator Warren that we need to fundamentally reshape our bankruptcy system.

As described by Senator Warren in her plan, this plan will:

  • Make it easier for people being crushed by debt to obtain relief through bankruptcy.
  • Expand people’s rights to take care of themselves and their children while they are in the bankruptcy process.
  • End the absurd rules that make it nearly impossible to discharge student loan debt in bankruptcy.
  • Let more people protect their homes and cars in bankruptcy so they can start from a firm foundation when they start to pick up the pieces and rebuild their financial lives.
  • Help address shameful racial and gender disparities that plague our bankruptcy system.
  • Close loopholes that allow the wealthy and corporate creditors to abuse the bankruptcy system at the expense of everyone else.