At the Republican national convention, Ivanka Trump pledged to fight for moms. But her proposal was rebuffed amid the Republican taxation overhaul
” As a mom myself, of three young children, I know how hard it is to work while raising a family. And I also know that I’m far more fortunate than most .”
Those were the words of Ivanka Trump at the 2016 Republican national convention, moments before her father took the stage to accept his party’s nomination for chairman. Standing at the podium before a crowd of thousands in Cleveland, with millions more watching across America, Ivanka touted Donald Trump as a champion of working women while vowing to fight for gender equality” right alongside of him “.
Ivanka seemed perfectly fit for the moment, speaking both from her own experience as a mom of three children and a high-profile CEO whose brand has centered on women in the workplace.
But nearly one year into the Trump administration, Ivanka’s portfolio on a host of women’s economic issues- from paid family leave to equal pay and affordable child care- remains largely devoid of policy victories. Her attempts have largely amounted to public advocacy, apparently far remote from her father’s agenda.
Last week, her push for an expanded child tax credit paid minor dividends during the Senate debate over taxation reform. But critics said her preferred approach to the issue would largely favor wealthy Americans, while an alternative that would have enabled more working families to receive the benefit was rebuffed by Republicans in Congress.
” If her priority or her plan was to create and advance policies domestically and internationally that would advance women’s opportunity in the workplace, they haven’t come to fruition ,” said Kelly Dittmar, an assistant professor of political science at Rutgers University and scholar at the Center for American Women and Politics at the Eagleton Institute of Politics.
Leading up to the tax vote, Ivanka was in India touting paid family leave plan that would require employers to offer six weeks of paid leave for new mothers. Republican meanwhile moved toward a far narrower proposal as part of their tax legislation, effectively ignoring a White House budget blueprint released in May that adopted Ivanka’s model.
Paid family leave arguably ranks among the most glaring examples of the gender gap in the US when compared with other countries.
The US is the only outlier among 41 developed countries that does not require any paid leave for new parents, according to the the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development( OECD ).
Several countries, including Austria, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway and Slovakia, assure over a year’s worth of paid leave. Estonia offers the most supporting, apportioning more than a year and a half of paid leave to new parents.
While there has been no notable momentum in the Republican-led Congress to address paid family leave in a substantial route, a modest proposal by the Nebraska Senator Deb Fischer was included in the tax plan passed by the Senate early Saturday along a party-line vote.
The provision aims to incentivize companies to provide up to 12 weeks of paid parental or medical leave by offering up a tax credit capped at 25% to employers who voluntarily do so.
But even that minor olive branch was not included in a taxation plan passed by the House of Representative last month, and it remains to be seen if Republicans in both chambers will agree to leaving it in a final bill. The provision has also been sharply criticized by Democrats and progressive groups as offering yet another tax break for companies rather than rallying behind a clear mandate that employers offer paid family leave.
The paid leave tax credit would only be temporary, and even some conservative economists have argued it would have little impact.
Ivanka, who has maintained paid family leave remains on the administration’s agenda, instead poured her efforts during tax reform negotiations into expanding what is known as the child taxation credit.
After initially suggesting a deduction for child care expenditures, which critics said would disproportionately favor high-income households like her own, Ivanka hurled her supporting behind a measure authored by Senators Marco Rubio and Mike Lee that would doubled an existing $1,000 -per-child tax credit.
The senators put forward an amendment that would help offset the costs of what would have amounted to an $87 bn expansion of the child taxation credit by cutting the corporate tax rate to 21%. The Republican taxation plan had instead proposed slashing the corporate tax rate to 20%, down from its current 35%, at the request of Trump.
Ivanka, who engaged in several discussions on the issue with Rubio, Lee and a handful of other Senate Republican, utilized her platform to push for the plan. But even there, her clout proved limited as her father, through a White House spokesman, swiftly objected to the measure days before the Senate’s tax vote. While the tax bill passed by Senate Republicans still doubles the non-refundable tax credit from $1,000 annually per child to $2,000, the Rubio-Lee amendment to expand the credit to millions of poor families was voted down.
Ivanka still praised the passage of the tax plan, tweeting on Monday:” Last week the Senate brought us one major step closer to historic #TaxReform. We now look forward to Congress reconciling the two bills and signing the Tax Cuts& Jobs Act into law together !”