(Bloomberg) Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s child-care plan would guarantee six weeks of paid maternity leave to working mothers, and Trump’s daughter Ivanka will join him in suburban Pennsylvania as he discusses the issue, his campaign said Tuesday.
New details about Trump’s child-care proposals, and the return to the campaign trail of one of his most popular female surrogates, come as Trump seeks to capitalize on Democrat Hillary Clinton’s recent stumbles and close the gap with her in the final stretch of the race.
Ivanka will introduce her father at a community-center event Tuesday night in the Philadelphia suburb of Aston to help unveil the expanded proposals, which also include an income cap on families who can benefit from a child-care tax deduction, and the creation of new dependent-care savings accounts.
Pennsylvania, part of the so-called Rust Belt swath of states crucial to Trump’s strategy to win the November election, has given an edge to Clinton in recent polls. She leads there by an average of 5.8 percentage points in a four-way race, according to RealClearPolitics.
Trump’s plan, the campaign said in a written outline, 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.”
Through changes in companies’ unemployment insurance policies, Trump would guarantee six weeks of paid maternity leave to employees whose firms don’t offer leave already, his campaign said.
Trump in August proposed making child-care costs tax deductible, crediting his daughter 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.
Trump’s tax plan, the campaign said Tuesday, would let working parents deduct child-care expenses from their income taxes for up to four children and would cover both families who take the standard deduction and those who itemize. Individuals earning more than $250,000 and joint filers earning more than $500,000 wouldn’t qualify, the campaign said.
The deduction would be capped at the average cost of child care in the state where the family lives, the campaign said. Parents using the Earned Income Tax Credit would get child-care spending rebates, the campaign said.
Costs associated with elderly dependents would also be deductible, the campaign said.
The dependent-care savings accounts Trump is proposing, his campaign said, would be available to everyone and would allow tax-deductible contributions and tax-free appreciation. The government would match 50 percent on deposits up to $1,000 per year, the campaign said.
School tuition would be a qualified expense, the campaign said, bolstering the school-choice advocacy Trump has recently taken up more vocally.
Trump would also seek “regulatory reform to promote new family-based and community-based solutions, and also add incentives for employers to provide child care at the workplace,” his campaign said.
Ivanka, who the campaign said was instrumental in helping craft the policy, was last prominently featured on her father’s campaign during the Republican National Convention in July, when she gave a well-received introduction to her father for his acceptance speech.
Ivanka said her father would “change the labor laws that were put into place at a time when women were not a significant portion of the workforce” and “focus on making quality child care affordable and accessible for all,” she said at the Cleveland convention.
During a roundtable in Virginia Beach earlier this month, Ivanka joined her father and other campaign officials in meeting with military spouses to discuss, among other topics, child care.
“Child care is the single largest expense for households—even over housing—for half the country,” Ivanka said at the roundtable. “This is such a big issue.”
Child-care bills have indeed outpaced rent and tuition costs in most U.S. states. The nation is the third-most expensive for child care among 34 countries, according to 2012 data from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Clinton has also taken notice. 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.
—With assistance from Michelle Jamrisko
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