White House makes push for paid family leave and child care reform


The White House on Thursday sought to rally support for paid family leave and child care legislation, with President Trump throwing his support behind the issue.

Members of Congress, governors and business leaders all met at the White House to argue for the importance of the issue and the need for improvements to federal programs.

Officials have said they are hopeful the discussion will spur movement on bipartisan legislation to aid working families.

The event came as part of a concerted push, spearheaded by Ivanka Trump, to bring child care and family leave to the forefront as Democrats running for president are doing the same.

The president expressed optimism that Congress could come together to pass legislation that includes paid family leave and expanded access to child care, likening it to the criminal justice reform bill that was passed a year ago.

“With this administration, you get the rewards. With other administrations it never worked,” he said. “But we get it done. They may like me, they may not, but we get it done.”

Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and a senior White House adviser, said Thursday morning that the White House’s key principles for potential legislation would focus on removing regulations that she said limited a family’s options when assessing child care choices.

“We have a historic chance to pass paid family leave and child care reform so that every American family has the freedom to embrace the dignity of work and the joy of raising a family,” she said.

Sens. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) were among the attendees at Thursday’s event. Reps. Joe Cunningham (D-S.C.) and Colin Allred (D-Texas) also attended.

The White House summit came one day after the House overwhelmingly approved an annual defense policy bill that, if signed into law, would give 12 weeks of paid parental leave to federal workers.

Several Democratic presidential hopefuls have rolled out proposals addressing child care costs as they seek the nomination to challenge President Trump in the 2020 election.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) previously introduced legislation that would establish universal child care.

South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg last month detailed an economic plan that would make early learning and child care through age 5 free for low-income families.

Sen. Cory Booker’s (D-N.J.) campaign released a plan in October to expand the child tax credit and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in a push to end childhood poverty.

Thursday’s summit came as the House Judiciary Committee prepared to advance articles of impeachment against the president. Trump spent much of the morning tweeting and retweeting messages critical of Democrats and ripping the proceedings in the House.

He joked at the outset of his remarks that he cleared his schedule to attend Thursday’s summit at his daughter’s request.

“I had a very busy time and a very busy day, and my daughter said, ‘you will be here,’ ” Trump quipped. “So that was the end of that busy day.”

Tags Child care Colin Allred Cory Booker Donald Trump Elizabeth Warren family leave House Ivanka Trump Joe Cunningham Joni Ernst Marco Rubio Martha McSally Mitt Romney Pete Buttigieg Senate White House

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