Trump unveils child care plans in break with conservatives
DES MOINES, Iowa — Donald Trump rolled out plans Tuesday to make child care more affordable, guaranteeing new mothers six weeks of paid maternity leave and suggesting new incentives for employees to provide their workers child care, breaking with conservative orthodoxy and wading into topics more often discussed by Democrats.
Trump unveiled the plans in a speech in a politically critical Philadel- phia suburb as he tries to build his appeal with more moderate, independent voters — especially women. Child care is one of the biggest expenses many U.S. families face, surpassing the cost of college and housing in many states.
Trump had said little about child care until his eldest daughter, Ivanka, surprised many at the Republican National Convention in July by promising to make it a centerpiece of a Trump administration.
During a rally Tuesday in Des Moines, Trump credited Ivanka Trump for his action on the issue. “She is the one who has been pushing for it so hard: ‘Daddy, Daddy, we have to do this.’ She’s very smart, and she’s right,” he said.
As part of his speech in battleground Pennsylvania, Trump proposed guaranteeing six weeks of paid maternity leave to employees whose employers don’t offer leave already. The campaign said the payments would be provided through existing unemploy- ment insurance — though it has yet to spell out how the system would cover those costs.
Democrat Hillary Clinton has called for 12 weeks parental leave for both mothers and fathers paid for by taxes on the wealthy.
Trump in August proposed reducing child care costs by allowing parents to fully deduct the average cost of child care from their taxes. On Tuesday, he expanded the deduction to include costs associated with caring for elderly de- pendent relatives.
The deduction would apply only to individuals earning $250,000 or less, or $500,000 or less if filing j ointly. But because Trump’s proposal is a tax deduction rather than credit, its greatest benefits would go to affluent households.
Over 40 percent of taxpayers don’t make enough money to owe taxes to the federal government, meaning they would not benefit from a deduction. Lowerincome earners would re- ceive child care spending rebates through the existing Earned Income Tax Credit, the campaign said.
Trump also proposed incentives for employers to provide child care options at work. But his proposals to prod businesses and communities into providing child care and other services are anathema to conservative orthodoxy. Trump has previously touted similar programs at his hotels and golf clubs — but only to guests and club members, not employees.