Trump unveils plan to support working parents

ASTON (Pennsylvania) • Mr Donald Trump has unveiled a menu of proposals to help working parents, calling for six weeks of mandatory paid maternity leave and expanded tax credits for childcare.
 

The proposals, which Mr Trump outlined in the Philadelphia suburbs along with his daughter Ivanka on Tuesday, represent a new attempt to court female voters who polls show have been alienated by his bombast and history of provocative remarks about women.

"We need working mothers to be fairly compensated for their work, and to have access to affordable, quality childcare for their kids," said Mr Trump, who used a subdued delivery that contrasted with his tendency at larger rallies to raise his voice.

After his speech, he held up a baby in the crowd.

Campaign officials said the maternity leave programme wouldn't cost taxpayers anything more; instead, it would be financed through savings achieved by eliminating fraud in the unemployment insurance programme.

SCEPTICS REACT

After spending his entire career - and this entire campaign - demeaning women and dismissing the need to support working families, Donald Trump released a regressive and insufficient 'maternity leave' policy that is out of touch, half-baked and ignores the way Americans live and work today.

MS MAYA HARRIS, Mrs Clinton's senior policy adviser.

Mr Trump's plan represents a different approach from the one taken by previous Republican presidential nominees.

But in selling his case, Mr Trump stretched the truth, saying that his Democratic rival, Mrs Hillary Clinton, has no such plan of her own and "never will".

Her plan, issued over a year ago, guarantees up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave for a newborn or a sick relative, financed by an increase in taxes on the wealthiest Americans.

The main thrust of Mr Trump's plan involves a reordering of the tax code so working parents can take an income tax deduction for care of up to four children and older-adult dependants.

The deduction is available for individuals earning up to US$250,000 (S$341,000), or $500,000 for a married couple filing jointly.

There would also be childcare spending rebates of up to US$1,200 a year. That is an amount that some critics called inadequate, given that the cost of childcare in some states is US$10,000 to US$20,000 a year.

The plan was met with criticism from the Clinton campaign and scepticism from some child care advocacy groups, which warned that the people most in need of relief would not get it.

"After spending his entire career - and this entire campaign - demeaning women and dismissing the need to support working families," said Ms Maya Harris, Mrs Clinton's senior policy adviser, "Donald Trump released a regressive and insufficient 'maternity leave' policy that is out of touch, half-baked and ignores the way Americans live and work today."

NYTimes, WASHINGTON POST

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 15, 2016, with the headline 'Trump unveils plan to support working parents'. Print Edition | Subscribe