Ivanka Trump Has Been Quietly Tackling Paid Family Leave and Affordable Child Care


Thursday’s White House summit on paid family leave and affordable child care will cap months of low-profile efforts by Ivanka Trump to build consensus on a major issue facing America’s working families.

The summit will feature a report from the first daughter, a senior adviser to President Donald Trump, on her observations from the months she has spent touring the country and talking with workers, according to the McClatchy news service.

Ivanka Trump is hoping the summit can be the catalyst to move legislation forward.

“Never before has this issue had so much support and momentum, on both sides of the aisle,” she told the outlet.

One proposal with bipartisan support is a bill sponsored by Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona. That legislation gives parents a $5,000 child care benefit up front, but also takes away $500 a year from any child tax credit parents might receive for 10 years.

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“Passing legislation requires bipartisan support. Senator Sinema and I have the only plan with support on both sides of the aisle,” Cassidy said. “We will keep building support so that American families can get the help they need to care for their baby.”

Ivanka Trump said moving the needle on issues related to paid family leave and child care has been a struggle.

“I actually thought the first year [of the presidency] would be around debating the policy, which is where we are today,” she told USA Today. “The first year and a half was explaining what paid family leave was and why it made sense … which was not something I had expected.”

But she said that the debate has turned a corner.

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“Since President Trump’s inauguration, the question has finally turned from ‘should Paid Family Leave be on the table’ to ‘what is the best Paid Family Leave policy for America’s families?’” she told McClatchy.

Some businesses are pushing back against federal paid family leave policies on the grounds that they want to keep control of what benefits they give workers.

“Trust us to treat our employees well,’’ Brad Close, who heads public policy and advocacy for the National Federation of Independent Businesses, told USA Today. “Please don’t make a ‘one size fits all’ for every business out there. It’s not going to work for the little guys.”

Rose Arriada-Keiper, vice president of global rewards for Adobe, said the issue is not opposition to the concept, but rather working out the mechanics of operating a business when employees would be out for months.

“I think a lot of companies struggle with having that forced on them,’’ she said.

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House Democrats are also not all on board.

“Democrats want to work with the administration and congressional Republicans on this issue, but cannot support approaches that would leave out most of the middle class or penalize workers who need to take leave by cutting their child tax credits or Social Security benefits,” Erin Hatch, a spokeswoman for House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Rep. Richard Neal of Massachusetts, told McClatchy.

Neal “has not heard from the Senate or the administration on paid family leave and is working on developing a solution here in the House,” Hatch added.

But Ivanka Trump said the status quo is not acceptable.

“It’s a travesty that we are the only country in the developed world without a policy to support parents and families,” Trump told USA Today. “It’s an area that we just needed to do better, and we fought to do better.”

The current American child care system is “not sustainable,” she said, noting that under it, parents cannot afford child care, caregivers make peanuts and child care centers have high liability and low profits.

“Whether it’s by choice or by necessity, we need to support this new reality,” she said.

Trump said her role has been to serve as the bridge for various groups to communicate with one another.

“I think for a long time, people had grown rather complacent,” she told USA Today. “There was no effort to educate colleagues across the aisle on the merit of supporting the policies advanced. So nothing’s going to move.”

She said the administration is not taking a doctrinaire approach, but will rather work with any coalition that can improve the lot of working families and produce a plan that can pass Congress.

“I don’t want to disparage any policy ideas,” she said. “I want to encourage people to come to the table, including people who have championed other policies and say, ‘These are fresh ideas. Let’s debate them.’”

But talk cannot go on forever, she said, noting her time spent on the issue will be “a failure if we don’t pass legislation.”

“I changed the trajectory of my personal life because I care about supporting the president as he seeks to better the lives of others and give back to a country that’s given so much to us,” she said.

“That’s truly all I care about, which is why I’m willing to put in the elbow grease.”

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Jack Davis is a freelance writer who joined The Western Journal in July 2015 and chronicled the campaign that saw President Donald Trump elected. Since then, he has written extensively for The Western Journal on the Trump administration as well as foreign policy and military issues.
Jack Davis is a freelance writer who joined The Western Journal in July 2015 and chronicled the campaign that saw President Donald Trump elected. Since then, he has written extensively for The Western Journal on the Trump administration as well as foreign policy and military issues.
Jack can be reached at
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