Republican nominee Donald Trump and his daughter Ivanka Trump plan to roll out a detailed childcare policy plan outside Philadelphia on Tuesday.
“This does underscore a major contrast between our campaign and Hillary Clinton’s—you heard Mr. Trump talk about it last night at his rally in North Carolina: Mrs. Clinton doesn’t have a single original idea or a fresh concept about anything,” a senior Trump aide tells reporters. “Nobody knows why she’s running except that she feels like she’s entitled to be president and beyond that I guess she owes a lot of people a lot of favors. But in terms of helping the American people, you couldn’t name one reason.”
Trump, on the other hand, has laid out a series of detailed policy platforms he says are designed to help all Americans. In recent weeks, the GOP nominee for president has presented ideas on foreign policy, trade policy, immigration policy, education policy, tax policy and military policy. In suburban Philadelphia, Trump will roll out a policy plan designed to help middle and working class mothers better afford childcare.
Childcare policy is an area politicians in Washington often ignore, especially when it comes to children from birth to 4 years old—a very expensive timeframe for new parents.
“Zero through 4 aged children there has been a real dearth of policy work in Washington, D.C., and in general—that’s one of the first things we found when started on the policy work,” a Trump aide said. “There’s been some work at the pre-K level and obviously K-12, but very little for zero through 4.”
Trump’s plan focuses on using the tax code to help new parents to allow them to deduct both childcare expenses and elderly dependent expenses for up to four total dependents from their income taxes. Trump aides say the tax deduction is available for taxpayers who take the standard deduction and is capped at the average cost of care for the state of residence, but those in the upper echelon, making more than $250,000—or $500,000 if filing jointly—per year will not be eligible for it. It will also offer as much as $1,200 per year per eligible family in child care spending rebates through the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Stay-at-home parents and working parents will both be eligible for the same tax deductions.
In addition, as the policy team for Trump laid out for reporters on Tuesday morning, Trump’s plan would create Dependent Care Savings Accounts (DCSAs)—as opposed to Dependent Care Flexible Savings Accounts (FSAs) in current law—that would be available to everyone. FSAs in current law are only available to people if offered by an employer, and they do not allow balances to accumulate or roll over. Trump’s DCSAs would offer both tax-deductible contributions and tax-free year-to-year appreciation, while also being available to everyone. The accounts allow for people to set aside extra money to pay for both childcare and for care of elderly dependents.
When helping children, the Trump team notes, it can be applied to traditional childcare, after-school programs and help with school tuition—in addition to Trump’s school choice program. For lower-income parents, Trump’s team notes, the government will match half of the first $1,000 deposited in the account per year. When used for helping elderly dependents, Trump’s team notes that the DSCA accounts can be used for covering a variety of services including in-home nursing and long-term care.
The Trump plan would also offer six weeks of government-guaranteed paid maternity leave to all working women when their companies don’t offer paid maternity leave. The money would come through amending the existing unemployment insurance (UI) that companies are required to carry, and would be paid for by offsetting reductions in the program so taxes don’t get raised.
Ivanka Trump, Donald’s daughter, was intricately involved in crafting the policy and will be appearing with Donald Trump in Aston, Pennsylvania. Ivanka Trump mentioned that she was working on this policy in her speech at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in July.