Ivanka Goes to Congress to Push Dad’s Paid Family Leave Plan

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By Tyrone Richardson

Ivanka Trump is meeting with congressional lawmakers this week as part of the administration’s plan to create a paid family leave program.

The administration is working with Congress to “develop a paid leave program that benefits working families,” a White House official told Bloomberg BNA June 20.

Ivanka Trump June 20 met with several senators, including Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), who Feb. 8 reintroduced the Strong Families Act ( S. 344). That measure would offer tax incentives to employers that provide paid family and medical leave. Fischer’s legislation, co-sponsored by Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) and without a companion bill in the House, has been referred to the Senate Committee on Finance.

It wasn’t immediately known June 20 if the Trump administration would support Fischer’s legislation. The White House official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the administration is still getting feedback from lawmakers.

White House Seeking ‘Hollistic Approach’

The purpose of the meetings June 20 and June 21 is to “hear members’ ideas and begin discussions around developing a holistic approach to child care affordability/accessibility and paid family leave,” the official said.

Ivanka Trump’s trip to the Capitol comes months after her father in his address to Congress urged lawmakers to work to “ensure new parents have paid family leave.”

The administration May 23 unveiled a paid family leave concept as part of its proposed budget request. That would involve creating a federal- and state-paid parental leave program to start in 2020. The proposed benefit would provide six weeks of paid leave for new parents.

The plan taps into the unemployment insurance program to fund $20 billion for the benefit for 10 years, according to the White House.

Meanwhile, a Democratic paid leave proposal, the FAMILY Act ( S. 337, H.R. 947), would establish a national paid family and medical leave insurance program funded by contributions from employers and workers.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) introduced the Senate version of the bill in February. A spokesman for the senator did not immediately respond to Bloomberg BNA’s request for comment June 20.

Fischer June 20 voiced optimism that her ideas could be incorporated into the Trump administration’s concept.

“It’s so important to have Ivanka Trump use her platform to shine a light on the challenges working families face,” she said in a statement. “I look forward to continuing to work with her on a way forward with policy solutions that can make a difference.”

Bloomberg BNA was unsuccessful reaching officials in Fischer’s office for further comment.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tyrone Richardson in Washington at trichardson@bna.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Peggy Aulino at maulino@bna.com; Terence Hyland at thyland@bna.com; Chris Opfer at copfer@bna.com

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