Updated Feb 23, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Sanders reveals free child care plan for preschoolers

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks during a campaign rally on February 22, 2020 in El Paso, Texas.

Bernie Sanders speaks during a campaign rally on Saturday in El Paso, Texas. Photo: Cengiz Yar/Getty Images

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders announced on CBS' "60 Minutes" Sunday a new plan to guarantee free child care and pre-kindergarten to all American children from infancy to age 4.

Details: In the wide-ranging interview, Sanders told Anderson Cooper he planned to pay for universal child care with a wealth tax. "It's taxes on billionaires," he said.

"I get a little bit tired of hearing my opponents saying — 'Gee, how you going to pay for a program that impacts and helps children or working-class families or middle-class families? How you going to pay for that?' And yet, where are people saying, 'How are you going to pay for over $750 billion on military spending?' How you going to pay for a trillion dollars in tax breaks to the 1% in large corporations which was what Trump did? When you help the billionaires and you help Wall Street, 'Hey!' Of course we can pay for it. That's what America's supposed to be about.' Well, I disagree."
— Bernie Sanders on "60 Minutes"

Funding plans: Cooper pushed Sanders on how he plans to fund Medicare for All, free public college, the Green New Deal and student debt cancellation.

  • "Making public colleges and universities tuition-free and canceling all student debt. ... We pay for that through a modest tax on Wall Street speculation," Sanders said.
  • "I can't rattle off to you every nickel and every dime. But we have accounted for ... you talked about Medicare for All. We have options out there that will pay for it."

What else he's saying: In the interview, Sanders also accepted when put to him by Cooper that he's now the Democratic front-runner after he was projected to win the Nevada Democratic caucuses, calling the situation "a bit shocking."

  • Sanders, who is due to turn 79 in September, defended concerns about his age and health following his heart attack last October, saying: "Being old has an advantage in the sense that the issues that I fight for are not new to me."
  • Sanders also criticized 2020 Democratic rival Mike Bloomberg over his stop-and-frisk policy while New York mayor, calling the policy "horrifically racist." But he said he would back the billionaire if he were the eventual nominee.
  • And he addressed his Senate achievement record, following criticism from other Democratic candidates.

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Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

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