Ivanka Trump Says She’s Open to Supporting a Democrat-Led Family Leave Bill

December 30, 2019 Updated: December 30, 2019
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White House senior adviser and President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump has said she could consider supporting a paid family leave bill, even if it was led by Democrats.

During an interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that aired Dec. 29, she told host Margaret Brennan the president has highlighted how “critical” the policy is.

“We are working with members on both sides of the aisle to see who has the right policy to move forward and to be able to garner the votes to pass this into law,” said Trump, who has worked on the issue of paid parental leave since assuming her role at the White House.

When asked whether she would support Democrat-led legislation, the 38-year-old responded: “It could be. It definitely could be.

“I think the option that has been put out there by the Democrats, without even opining on the policy of it, it has sat there since 2012, has never been scored, has never received the endorsement of a president, including President Obama, and has never received bipartisan support.”

Trump added that she believes the debate has “grown stale.”

“We need to come up with new, fresh solutions, so we’ve been working with Republicans, Democrats, proposing alternatives,” she added, commenting on how “incredible” it is that the policy appears to have gathered bipartisan support.

She emphasized that the progress made on the issue has come after “several years” of talks among both parties.

“What has become incredible is that people aren’t debating anymore whether or not paid family leave is good policy,” she said. “They’re debating what’s the best policy.”

Her comments came after she helped push through a paid family leave provision—made part of the defense authorization bill—for about 2 million federal employees, who, for the first time in U.S. history, are eligible for 12 weeks of paid parental leave.

President Donald Trump signed the defense spending measure into law on Dec. 20.

The president told attendees at a summit on Dec. 12 that it’s important for mothers to spend time with their newborn children.

“We’re here today to support the heroic calling for working moms and dads—to really help them. We’re going to help them. And we’re going to help them a lot. American families are the heart, soul, and backbone of our nation. Strong and loving families build up our neighborhoods, sustain our communities, invigorate our cities, pass down our values, and make a brighter future for every citizen,” he said at the White House Summit on Child Care and Paid Leave in Washington.

“In everything we do, we’re putting the American families first. And frankly, we’re putting America first. But American families are coming first. With more women working today than ever before, we now have a historic opportunity to enact long-overdue reforms. It’s time to pass Paid Family Leave and expand access to quality.”

The president said the measure would bring parents “expanded access to quality, affordable child care.”

“And that’s something that could take a long time before it ever got done, but we’re going to get it done and we’re working with a lot of tremendous people, many of whom are in the room. And I want to thank you for that,” he said.

“An estimated one out of every four American moms returns to work within two weeks of giving birth because they cannot afford to miss a paycheck or risk losing their job. We want every mother to have the chance to spend those precious few weeks with her newborn or adopted child. And I understand, statistically—they show, statistically, it’s so much better for the baby in growing up, even in later years. I can imagine that.”

About 17 percent of civilian workers, 25 percent of state and local government workers, and 16 percent of private industry workers had access to paid family leave as of March 2018, according to federal data.

The Congressional Budget Office stated in a report released in December that the defense bill provision would cost about $3.3 billion through fiscal year 2024.

Ivanka Trump said at the summit that the provision was “a very positive development” and that she hopes to create a paid leave program for all Americans.

Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.