‘Fam­ily first’ for first daugh­ter Ivanka Trump pitches tax plan to work­ing par­ents

The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics - BY S.A. MILLER

Ivanka Trump has emerged as a key White House player on tax re­form, spear­head­ing poli­cies to pro­vide re­lief to mid­dle-class Amer­i­cans and stak­ing out com­mon ground with con­ser­va­tive and lib­eral law­mak­ers on Capi­tol Hill.

Over the past months, Pres­i­dent Trump’s daugh­ter and se­nior ad­viser joined mem­bers of the Trea­sury, the White House Na­tional Eco­nomic Coun­cil and Of­fice of Leg­isla­tive Af­fairs for scores of meet­ings with Congress mem­bers, ad­vo­cacy groups and Wash­ing­ton as­so­ci­a­tions and think tanks.

In the run-up to the in­tro­duc­tion last week of the Repub­li­can tax re­form bill, Ms. Trump joined Trea­surer Jovita Car­ranza at a town-hall-style fo­rum in Bucks County, Penn­syl­va­nia, and then teamed with Se­nate and House mem­bers at the Capi­tol to high­light the ur­gency of giv­ing work­ing fam­i­lies a big­ger child tax credit.

“As a mother her­self, Ivanka seemed to speak from the heart, and it was ev­i­dent she wants to help put the Amer­i­can fam­ily first,” said Sen. Tim Scott, a South Carolina Repub­li­can on the tax-writ­ing Se­nate Fi­nance Com­mit­tee who or­ga­nized the meet­ing with Ms. Trump on Capi­tol Hill.

“She demon­strated that she is com­mit­ted to us­ing her in­flu­en­tial role in a pow­er­ful way to be an ad­vo­cate for work­ing moms and dads,” he said. “Her tenac­ity on this topic is driven by her mo­ti­va­tion to help folks keep more of their hard-earned money.”

At the Penn­syl­va­nia event, Ms. Trump ar­gued that a big­ger, re­fund­able child tax credit was “crit­i­cally im­por­tant to help offer Amer­i­can fam­i­lies much-needed re­lief and pri­or­i­tize what’s right for their fam­i­lies.”

“It’s time we rec­og­nize as a coun­try that we have to have poli­cies that mir­ror our val­ues: work and fam­ily,” she said of the pro­posal.

She has made sim­i­lar pitches at meet­ings and fo­rums around Wash­ing­ton, in­clud­ing with a bi­par­ti­san group of sen­a­tors at a din­ner two weeks ago at her home in the city’s up­scale Kalo­rama neigh­bor­hood. Her hus­band, White House ad­viser Jared Kush­ner, and Trea­sury Sec­re­tary Steve Mnuchin also helped make the case for tax re­form at the din­ner.

The Se­nate Democrats at the table were some of the party’s most vul­ner­a­ble in­cum­bents up for re­elec­tion next year: Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Manchin III of West Vir­ginia, Claire McCaskill of Mis­souri and Pa­trick J. Toomey of Penn­syl­va­nia.

Their votes could be cru­cial to pass tax re­form in the nar­rowly di­vided Se­nate.

The bill, rolled out by the House and un­der­go­ing amend­ments last week, re­flects some of Ms. Trump’s pri­or­i­ties.

Un­der the leg­is­la­tion, the child tax credit would in­crease from 1,000 to $1,600 per child.

A new credit would pro­vide $300 for de­pen­dents older than 18, such as el­derly par­ents need­ing care or chil­dren in col­lege.

How­ever, the House bill fell short of Ms. Trump’s push for dou­bling the child tax credit. It also kept the max­i­mum re­fund­able por­tion of the credit at the $1,000 level, ad­justed with the chained con­sumer price in­dex to rise with prices over time un­til reach­ing $1,600.

Repub­li­can Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Marco Ru­bio of Florida shared Ms. Trump’s goal of rais­ing the credit to at least $2,000. They have long ad­vo­cated a big­ger tax credit that is re­fund­able through pay­roll with­hold­ing so work­ing fam­i­lies don’t have to wait for the money.

Mr. Lee and Mr. Ru­bio called the House bill an im­por­tant step in the process but saw room for im­prove­ment.

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