In an appearance in Pennsylvania on Tuesday with his daughter Ivanka, Donald Trump announced new proposals for paid family leave and the child care tax credit he first spoke of at the Republican National Convention in July.
His plan guarantees six weeks of paid maternity leave for new mothers, which he said would be paid for by amending the existing unemployment insurance that companies are required to carry. The plan also offers a federal income tax deduction for child care expenses for up to four children, capped at the average cost of care in the state. Individuals earning more than $250,000 per year and families earning more than $500,000 would not qualify for the credit.
“The benefit is structured to ensure that working- and middle-class families see the largest reductions in their taxable incomes,” Ivanka said in a op-ed for the Wall Street Journal.
Trump’s plan will offer child care spending rebates for lower-income taxpayers through the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), which the campaign estimates could be $1,200 per year for eligible families.
Trump’s opponents argue that the tax credit would fall short and that his plan would exclude families who don’t pay federal income taxes (and often need the most assistance).
MSNBC’s Steve Benen called the plan a “joke,” and claimed Trump lacks credibility on the issue.
“Many of his own employees, for example, wanted paid maternity leave but didn’t receive it,” Benen said. “His record of demeaning working mothers and dismissing pregnancies as an ‘inconvenience’ for businesses only makes matters worse.”
On the other hand, some conservative groups saw Trump’s new proposals as a good move for his campaign.
“Trump doesn’t resort to trying to woo women by entering the Left’s bidding war of promising more and more taxpayer-funded, one-size-fits-all mandates for a favored cause,” Carrie Lukas, vice president of policy and economics for Independent Women’s Voice, said. “And rather than Hillary Clinton’s predictable promises to increase federal grants to daycare centers, decree that child care workers all must be paid more, and complicated plan to cap how much families spend out of pocket on daycare expenses, Trump offers an alternative approach that many conservatives have long called for: a major expansion of tax deductions for families with children.”
The group commended Trump for wading into territory often discussed exclusively by Democrats.
“Just engaging on an issue like this sends an important message to the public that the Right recognizes the challenges that working families face and wants to create a better system,” Lukas said. “Too often, Republicans have avoided these topics, which has allowed the Left to dominate the conversation.”
Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton has proposed 12 weeks of paid family leave, with workers earning two-thirds of their salary during this time. Her plan would apply not only to new mothers, but also to new fathers and the parents of adopted children. She also wants to cap child care costs at 10 percent of a family’s income and raise wages for child care workers. Clinton would pay for her proposal by raising taxes on the wealthy.