INDIANOLA, Iowa — Presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders highlighted his support Sunday for a plan to provide three months of paid leave after a family has a child and challenged Democratic front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton to embrace the same legislation.

Clinton has spoken out strongly in favor of providing workers with paid family leave but also stressed her commitment in recent days to not raising taxes on the middle class to pay for new initiatives.

The plan backed by Sanders, a senator from Vermont, would be paid for with an increase in the payroll tax that would cost the average worker about $72 a year.

"You think that we can afford $1.39 per week?" Sanders asked a crowd of more than 400 people, composed largely of college students, gathered for a town hall meeting here the day after the second Democratic presidential debate. “It is unconscionable that millions of new parents in this country are forced back to work because they don’t have the income to stay home with their newborn babies.”

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Clinton has pledged not to raise taxes on those making less than $250,000, a point of contrast with her Democratic rivals that she highlighted during Saturday night's debate and again on Sunday.

"The super wealthy and corporations need to pay more, not you," Clinton told a crowd of central Iowa Democrats at a barbecue lunch on Sunday afternoon in Ames. "That is a defining difference in this primary."

Sanders has proposed an array of other costly plans, including an expansion of Social Security and free public college tuition, that would be paid for with tax increases on high-income earners and corporations.

The family leave legislation that Sanders has embraced was introduced by Kristen Gillibrand, Clinton's successor in the Senate from New York. Sanders said Sunday that the legislation has widespread support from progressives in both chambers of Congress.

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Sanders held a separate event in Des Moines earlier Sunday with family caregivers in an attempt to draw more attention to the issue.

Sanders began his town hall meeting here by acknowledging the "unspeakable" attacks in Paris on Friday and calling for a coalition of nations to come together to fight the Islamic State and other terrorists.

"The world has got to come together," he said.

Much of the remainder of his hour-long stump speech focused on his domestic agenda, which includes multiple initiatives to address income inequality.

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The night also included a lighter moment, after Sanders brought up his plan to remove marijuana from the federal government's list of dangerous drugs, a step that would allow states to legalize marijuana without impediments from Washington.

Sanders, 74, relayed that he had tried marijuana twice in his youth.

"I coughed to death," hes said. "It didn't work for me."