Congress should at least double the child tax credit, Ivanka Trump urged Tuesday, as the president’s daughter and key White House adviser stressed the administration’s commitment to tax reform this year.
“We are keeping the administration’s working families agenda top of mind,” @IvankaTrump says.
“This administration is determined to keep working families at the forefront of our agenda,” she said.
“It is really important for the president and for the administration that this is really a tax cut for the middle class and for working families,” she told a morning gathering of pro-family groups at the Americans for Tax Reform headquarters in Washington.
Members of Congress joined the older of the president’s two daughters to talk about how tax reform is needed to create greater economic growth and help shore up entitlements such as Social Security and Medicare.
Later in the day, she traveled with President Donald Trump to Mandan, North Dakota, his second stop in a week to promote his proposal to cut tax rates and simplify the tax code with the goal of making the country more competitive.
Trump called her to the stage to say hello to the crowd, saying, “Everybody loves Ivanka. Come up, Honey.”
“Hi, North Dakota,” she said, taking the microphone. “We love this state, so it is always a pleasure to be back here. You treated us very, very well in November, and have continued to. So, we like sharing the love back.”
During the morning event with pro-family groups in Washington, however, Ivanka Trump took a more serious tone.
“One of the ways we can deliver a tax cut is through a more generous child tax credit,” she told that audience, adding:
This administration is pushing for the largest child tax credit possible. I’d like to see the CTC at least double from its current level of $1,000 to $2,000. I would also like to see it be made refundable against payroll taxes, so that more lower-income families can fully benefit from the credit.
The president’s older daughter, also a businesswoman, noted “alarming numbers” that demand action from the federal government.
More than half of American mothers work outside the home, and 64 percent of women with children over age 6 do so, she said. But families spend nearly one-third of their after-tax income on child care costs.
Average annual tuition for day care is nearly $10,000, she said, and the average annual cost of day care for two children exceeds the annual median rent in every state.
Finally, she said, full-time infant care costs more on average than the cost of in-state tuition at a public, four-year university in two-thirds of the states.
“As part of our effort to bring much-needed tax relief to American workers and businesses, we are keeping the administration’s working families agenda top of mind,” Ivanka Trump said. “The issue of child care was central to the campaign and remains a key priority for this administration, as evidence by its inclusion in our tax plan.”
Rep. David Schweikert, R-Ariz., spoke at the event about the potential for an overhaul of the tax code to spur economic growth and preserve entitlements. But, he said, it will upset the special-interest lobbyists centered on Washington’s K Street.
“This president seems willing to battle even special interests that might be favorable to him, because what’s happened in the tax code is almost perverse if you actually look at the number of carve-outs and designs and depreciations and credits, it’s a lobbyist’s dream,” Schweikert told The Daily Signal after the event.
“So this is going to be a knife fight because it’s always about the money, and this is the ultimate battle over money. … It’s ultimately what’s good for the American people and not necessarily great for K Street.”
Democratic leaders opposing the tax reform ideas disagree.
Last week, after Donald Trump traveled to Missouri to promote the tax reform plan, a trip his daughter also made, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said it was a “billionaires first” proposal that would be “at the expense of American families.”
“If Republicans have their way,” the California Democrat added, “they will blow a huge hole in the deficit, gut Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and the Affordable Care Act—all just to fund deficit-busting tax breaks for the high end.”
Also on hand at the Tuesday event was Rick Santorum, the former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania and two-time Republican presidential candidate.
“It’s important to make the case to low- and middle-income Americans about the problems with the current tax code, said Santorum, author of two books, “It Takes a Family” and “Blue Collar Conservative,” addressing the importance of tax policy that is friendly to working families.
“It is a blue-collar issue,” Santorum told The Daily Signal shortly before the event started, adding:
We do not help families have children. We don’t make it economically viable for them. Our tax policy has been always focused, as conservatives, on the market and what are we going to do to create a more profitable market place, as opposed to understanding the market, is one piece of society. It’s an important piece. It’s an important piece for families. It’s an important piece for the country. But the culture and the family is vital. If you have birth rates continuing to decline in America, as they are because of the cost of having children, then you are going to have a problem with your economy long term, much less a problem in your culture.
Parents are “penalized” by the current tax code and don’t have a special-interest group to advocate for them, Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, said during the forum.
Lee said the nation is not “adequately looking out” for those “who are raising the next generation of taxpayers, who will be providing your Social Security benefits and Medicare benefits one day.”
“So they contribute first when they pay their taxes, including payroll taxes,” he said, “and then again by bearing the enormous cost of raising their children, which according to even the most modest estimates, are on average many hundreds of thousands of dollars per year by the time they raise their children.”
On the child tax credit, the Utah Republican added:
The current $1,000-per-child tax credit is a really good start, but over the 18-year period [in] which you are raising children, $18,000 barely makes a dent in the problem we’re talking about, which again runs into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. So, I think we should make it bigger, a lot bigger, $2,000, $2,500, maybe more than that. I’d be happy to go higher.