(Bloomberg) — Ivanka Trump helped introduce her father’s child care, elder care and paid maternity leave plan in suburban Philadelphia on Tuesday, leaving little doubt that she was a driving force behind the proposal.
“As an employer, mother and woman who works both inside and outside of the home, these are topics that I consider of critical importance,” Ivanka Trump said during an eight-minute introduction of the Republican presidential nominee. “The policy my father is about to outline is one that I’m proud to have helped conceptualize. And ensuring its enactment will be one of my priorities when he’s elected come November.”
One part of Trump’s plan would create a new dependent care savings account program. A family that set up a DCSA could use it to set aside money for their children. A family also could use the account to save for care for aging parents or other adult dependents.
Through changes in companies’ unemployment insurance policies, another part of Trump’s plan would guarantee six weeks of paid maternity leave to employees whose firms don’t offer leave already, his campaign said.
Speaking in Aston, Pennsylvania, which sits in the only reliable Republican county in suburban Philadelphia, the mother of three portrayed child care as an issue that has traditionally been overlooked in policy discussions and said her father’s plan “recognizes and supports” mothers and women who’ve left work to care for elderly relatives.
Child-care costs have indeed outpaced rent and tuition in most U.S. states. The nation is the third-most expensive for child care among 34 countries, according to 2012 data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
“I recognize that far too women could say the same for themselves and that I am more fortunate than most,” she said. “Safe, affordable high-quality child care should not be the luxury of a fortunate few.”
About two-thirds of Donald Trump’s tax plan would be offset by the increases in economic activity that accompany pro-growth tax changes, better trade deals, regulatory and immigration changes, and fewer restrictions on the energy industry, the campaign said.
The billionaire’s pitch to working parents comes as the race has tightened in recent weeks, particularly in so-called Rust Belt states including Pennsylvania and Ohio where Trump has sought to focus on economic malaise. A RealClearPolitics average of national polling on Tuesday showed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton leading 45.8 percent to 43.4 percent, a gap that stood at nearly 8 percentage points on Aug. 9.
Trump’s plan would “allow a family to make the choice of whether a parent should work outside the home or not without bias from the tax code,” and would “ensure stay-at-home parents receive the same tax deduction as working parents, offering compensation for the job they’re already doing,” the campaign said in a statement.
Trump in August proposed making dependent care costs tax deductible, crediting his daughter Ivanka by name in a speech at the Detroit Economic Club where he called for a temporary moratorium on new federal agency regulations in order to spur economic growth. Stephen Moore, a Trump economic adviser, said at the time that the child-care proposal would cost about $20 billion per year.
“I want to applaud my daughter Ivanka for her leadership on this issue,” Trump said at the start of his 20-minute speech on the topic Tuesday. “I’m very grateful to her for her work and efforts.”
Trump’s tax plan would let working parents deduct child-care expenses from their income taxes for up to four children and would cover families who take the standard deduction as well as those who itemize. Individuals earning more than $250,000 and joint filers earning more than $500,000 wouldn’t qualify, the campaign said.
Clinton has laid out her own plan to tackle the issue. Her proposal includes tax relief but is more focused on government support and broader investments in early childhood education, while pledging to ensure that no family has to spend more than 10 percent of income on high-quality care.
“After spending his entire career — and this entire campaign — demeaning women and dismissing the need to support working families, Donald Trump released a regressive and insufficient ‘maternity leave’ policy that is out-of-touch, half-baked and ignores the way Americans live and work today,” Hillary for America senior policy adviser Maya Harris said in a statement.
“He’s robbing Peter to pay Paul by raiding unemployment insurance funds, and giving the most to the wealthy while providing far less relief to middle-class and working families.”
—With assistance from Kevin Cirilli and Jennifer Jacobs.