Biden–Sanders Task Forces Unveil Policy Recommendations for Party Unity

July 9, 2020 Updated: July 9, 2020

Unity task forces assembled by presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his former rival Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) unveiled policies on July 8 aimed at uniting the party ahead of the 2020 presidential election.

The set of policy recommendations was released in a 110-page document (pdf) on July 8. It includes wide-ranging policies, including putting the United States on a path to eliminate carbon pollution from power plants by 2035.

The six task forces each have eight members, and were formed in May by Biden and Sanders—a self-described Democratic socialist who was Biden’s last major primary opponent—to tackle health care, immigration, education, criminal justice reform, climate change, and the economy.

The climate change task force brought together Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), as well as former Secretary of State John Kerry, who supported Biden. The recommendations will inform the Democratic Party platform, a statement of goals the party will run on once they’ve been adopted at the August convention.

The documents recommend that Biden commit to moving the United States to being fully powered by renewable energy ahead of a previous 2050 deadline outlined during the primary. It proposes achieving net-zero emissions for all new buildings by 2030, and making energy-saving upgrades to as many as 2 million households and 4 million buildings by 2025.

“The Unity Task Force urges that we treat climate change like the emergency that it is and answer the crisis with an ambitious, unprecedented, economy-wide mobilization to decarbonize the economy and build a resilient, stronger foundation for the American people,” the document states.

Other proposals include a focus on police reforms and on expanding Obamacare. It makes no mention of expanding Medicare to include all citizens, and doesn’t endorse the sweeping Green New Deal environmental plan favored by Ocasio-Cortez.

In a statement, Sanders reaffirmed his commitment to helping Biden win in November’s general election to move the country “toward economic, racial, social, and environmental justice.”

“While Joe Biden and I, and our supporters, have strong disagreements about some of the most important issues facing our country, we also understand that we must come together in order to defeat Donald Trump, the most dangerous president in modern American history,” Sanders said.

“Though the end result is not what I or my supporters would have written alone, the task forces have created a good policy blueprint that will move this country in a much-needed progressive direction and substantially improve the lives of working families throughout our country,” he said.

President Donald Trump’s campaign, meanwhile, said Americans wouldn’t need to guess what an economy under a Biden presidency would look like since he was already vice president for eight years and senator for another 36.

“Biden’s policies caused the slowest economic recovery since the Great Depression, anemic job growth, and depressed wages for the workers left. Biden’s NAFTA destroyed 850,000 American jobs and his inexplicable support for China killed millions more and forced 60,000 American factories to close,” Hogan Gidley, the Trump campaign’s national press secretary, said in a statement.

“Now, Biden proudly brags he has borrowed his economic plans from Bernie Sanders, saying he’ll raise taxes on all Americans—including the middle class—and impose crippling Green New Deal regulations on job-creators that already forced so many American companies to leave our shores for other countries. President Trump built the greatest economy anyone alive has ever known before the unprecedented global pandemic, and he’s already doing it again.”

Zachary Stieber, Reuters, and the Associated Press contributed to this report.