Former Vice President Joe Biden endorsed a $15-an-hour federal minimum wage and an option for anyone to buy into Medicare in his first 2020 presidential campaign speech on Monday.
Speaking before a union audience in Pittsburgh, Biden said it’s “well past time that the minimum wage nationally be a minimum of $15.” The federal minimum wage has been $7.25 an hour since 2009.
Biden, who declared his White House bid last week, also endorsed what’s known as a public option to buy into Medicare — different than the so-called Medicare for All proposal favored by another White House hopeful, Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Biden directly attacked President Donald Trump, telling attendees that if he’s going to beat him in 2020, “it’s going to happen here, in western Pennsylvania.” Trump only narrowly defeated Hillary Clinton in Pennsylvania in 2016, as residents went for a Republican for the first time since George H.W. Bush.
Biden said to pay for some of his proposals he’d jettison Trump’s tax cuts, and he called for getting rid of what’s known as step-up basis, which eliminates capital gains tax upon inheritance. He also acknowledged stock-market DJIA, +0.04% gains but said it’s not enough for some families.
“The stock market is roaring,” Biden said, “but you don’t feel it.” He also took aim at General Motors GM, +0.83% for closing plants and laying off workers. The company got a bailout during the George W. Bush and Obama administrations.