Ivanka Trump visits Capitol to talk family tax policies

Ivanka Trump, Marco Rubio
Ivanka Trump, daughter of President Donald Trump who also serves as an adviser, is escorted by Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., as she arrives at the Capitol to meet with lawmakers about parental leave, in Washington, Tuesday, June 20, 2017. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Seeking to advance her family-focused agenda, Ivanka Trump made her first official sojourn to Capitol Hill Tuesday to talk tax policy with Republican lawmakers.

The senior adviser and daughter of President Donald Trump attended a meeting led by GOP Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida that included talks about expanding the child tax credit, paid family leave and other family-focused tax policies.

After the session, Ivanka Trump tweeted: “Just left a productive meeting on the Hill to discuss issues affecting American working families, including childcare & paid family leave!”

Rubio said the gathering was spurred by a talk he had with Trump over a month ago, calling it a “first step” for Republicans to discuss tax policies for working families.

“If we’re going to do tax reform and we should, there should be a discussion and hopefully action on how the tax code can strengthen the family, particularly working families who are struggling with the increased cost of everything,” Rubio said.

Participants included Sen. Deb Fischer of Nebraska, Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa, Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, Sen. Steve Daines of Montana, Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, Rep. Dave Schweikert of Arizona, Rep. Trent Franks of Arizona and Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas.

The meeting did not include any Democrats, who traditionally are more sympathetic to the family policies Ivanka Trump has been working on.

Ivanka Trump has stressed that paid parental leave and support for child care costs are priorities of the administration, but she has signaled flexibility on the approach. Advancing parental leave in the Republican-controlled Congress is considered highly unlikely, but winning some family-oriented tax changes are possible.

Rubio said Trump did not have a specific “ask” for lawmakers. Rather, he said she was “in the input stage, listening to the different ideas and proposals that are out there.”

Rubio and Lee have proposed enhancing the child tax credit, which currently provides a tax credit of up to $1,000 for qualifying families. Fischer has proposed a tax credit for businesses that offer paid family leave.

In a statement, Fischer said she looked “forward to continuing to work with (Ivanka Trump) on a way forward with policy solutions that can make a difference.”

Trump has indicated she was open to revising the paid parental leave proposal laid out in the White House budget, which would require states to finance the benefit for new mothers, fathers and adoptive parents through unemployment insurance programs.

Response to that proposal has been mixed. Democrats, who traditionally support paid leave, say they would prefer a more robust benefit that also covers people caring for sick relatives. And both Democrats and Republicans raised questions about the cost burden for states.

Democratic women in the House of Representatives announced a Wednesday hearing on family leave, calling the White House proposal “inadequate” in a news release.

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Associated Press Congressional Correspondent Erica Werner contributed from Washington.