ASTON — Donald Trump rolled out a plan yesterday aimed at making child care more affordable, guaranteeing new mothers six weeks of paid maternity leave and suggesting new incentives for employees to provide their workers childcare. Spurred on by his daughter, Ivanka, Trump waded into topics more often discussed by Democrats.
Trump unveiled the proposals in a speech in a politically critical Philadelphia suburb as he tries to build his appeal with more moderate, independent voters — especially women. Child care is one of the biggest expenses many American families face, surpassing the cost of college and even housing in many states.
“We need working mothers to be fairly compensated for their work, and to have access to affordable, quality child care for their kids,” Trump said in Aston, Pennsylvania. “These solutions must update laws passed more than half a century ago when most women were still not in the labor force.”
Trump proposed guaranteeing six weeks of paid maternity leave to employees whose employers don’t offer leave already. The campaign says the payments would be provided through existing unemployment insurance — though it has yet to spell out how the system would cover those costs.
Trump’s Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, has called for 12 weeks parental leave for both mothers and fathers paid for by taxes on the wealthy.
Trump also proposed incentives for employers to provide child-care options at work. But some of his proposals to prod businesses and communities into providing childcare and other services are anathema to conservative orthodoxy.
At one point, Trump was interrupted briefly by a crying baby — but, unlike at a rally in August, he did not suggest he wanted the child ejected.
Ivanka Trump introduced Trump in Pennsylvania and, earlier in the day in Iowa, the candidate credited his daughter 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,” the candidate said.
The timing raised some eyebrows among skeptics.
Carmel Martin at the liberal Center for American Progress said the new savings accounts would create a potential tax shelter for wealthy people and that Trump’s proposals remain tilted to the rich because the low-income child-care rebates top out at $1 200.
“It would definitely work for Ivanka, but not for most American families,” Martin said.