Donald Trump outlined a child-care plan on Tuesday, promising a self-funded program to pay for six weeks of maternity leave, and expanded tax credits for those who send their children to day care.
Trump made his proposals in Aston, Pennsylvania, ostensibly to target the Philadelphia suburbs he believes he needs to win Pennsylvania. He was flanked by Ivanka Trump, his popular daughter, who told the audience the issue caught her heart.
“Donald Trump’s child care proposal will help provide relief and certainty … by making targeted reforms to our tax code that are both pro-growth and pro-family.”
The family-friendly proposals caught some flak on Tuesday as some Republicans, particularly those of the “Never Trump” persuasion, decried Trump’s plan to create new entitlements.
Trump addressed those concerns, making most of his plan dependent upon tax credits. His biggest proposal — to mandate six weeks of maternity leave for workers who don’t already have such a benefit through their employer — will be paid for out of federal unemployment funds.
“By recapturing fraud and improper payments in the unemployment insurance program, we can provide six weeks of paid-maternity leave to any mother with a newborn child whose employer does not provide the benefit,” Trump told the Aston audience. “This maternity leave will be paid straight out of the unemployment insurance fund and, again, this safety net will be completely paid-for through savings within the program.”
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Trump said the reforms were necessary because 46 percent of the workforce are women, many with young children. And he said two in three mothers with children have jobs.
Perhaps more controversial within fiscally hawkish circles inside the Beltway will be Trump’s plan to expand the Earned Income Tax Credit for low-income working families who spend money on child care. The tax credit is basically a cash payment made via tax returns to those who didn’t earn enough to be taxed.
“For low-income individuals who have no net income tax liability, we will offer an expanded Earned Income Tax Credit in the form of a childcare rebate,” Trump promised. “Working parents can get an expanded EITC benefit that equals up to half of their total payroll tax – a major relief for low-income parents. This translates to as much as an extra $1,200 dollars in EITC benefits for working families.”
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But Trump’s plan didn’t focus only on young children and their parents. Trump said his plans cover elder care too, something bound to be popular as the population ages.
Trump proposed a “Dependent Care Savings Account,” which looks much like a health care savings account. Trump said families can contribute up to $2,000 dollars a year to these accounts completely tax-free. They will apply to elder care, and they will be available to all Americans. Trump said unlike flexible savings accounts, Americans won’t have to go through employers to create one.
The plans were met with enthusiasm by Republican women in Congress.
“Child care is a growing part of the family budget, but middle class Americans are continuing to get squeezed in the Clinton-Obama economy, Rep. Diane Black (R-TN) said in a statement from the Trump campaign, “Donald Trump’s child-care proposal will help provide relief and certainty in these challenging economic times by making targeted reforms to our tax code that are both pro-growth and pro-family.”
“Unlike one-size-fits-all plans proposed by Democrats, Mr. Trump’s innovative plan ensures parents have options that fit their needs when it comes for caring for their children,” Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) said in a separate statement.
Trump ended his relatively brief policy speech by again referencing Hillary Clinton indirectly. Trump said early in his speech that Clinton has no plan, and could never deliver it anyway.
“While my opponent slanders you as deplorable and irredeemable, I call you, hard-working American Patriots who love your country, love your families, and want a better future for all Americans,” Trump said.