ASTON, Pa., Sept. 14 (UPI) -- GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump outlined a plan to offer women six weeks of paid maternity leave and make the cost of childcare tax deductible for all but the wealthiest families.
Speaking in suburban Philadelphia on Tuesday, Trump called for a federal requirement to allow new mothers six weeks off at full pay. A second proposal would increase the amount parents are allowed to deduct toward the cost of childcare from their income taxes. The tax deduction would be capped at the average cost of childcare in each state and would apply to single parents making less than $250,000 per year, or couples making less than a combined $500,000 per year.
The plan also calls for a government rebate of up to $1,200 toward the cost of childcare for low-income families.
According to the campaign, the maternity leave proposal would be funded by eliminating an estimated $3.3 billion in unemployment fraud, though experts have pegged the total cost of even a bare-bones maternity leave paid by the government to cost much more -- about $9 billion annually, Politico reported. In the speech, Trump said the plan would be paid for by "economic growth" and "budget savings," but he did not identify any federal programs he would cut.
Trump was introduced by his daughter, Ivanka Trump, who stood behind him onstage while he made his remarks in a community center before about 300 vocal supporters.
Trump spoke in a working class Philadelphia suburb and cast the speech as one that would help families who are scraping to get by.
"Those in leadership must put themselves in the shoes of the laid-off factory worker, the family worried about security or the mom struggling to afford child care," Trump said.
No Republican nominee has ever proposed paid maternity leave before, though, in some form or other, it is a benefit in nearly every other advanced nation. Trump's critics pointed out he has never offered his own employees the benefit.
Clinton's parental leave and childcare proposal, unveiled more than a year ago, would offer 12 weeks of leave at two-thirds of a parent's pay and would be made available to both new mothers and fathers. She proposes paying for the increase, estimated at $30 billion per year, with increased taxes on the wealthy.
Trump's plan builds on a proposal made several weeks ago, when he pledged to make the cost of childcare fully tax-deductible. Critics argued a wealthy parent could deduct the cost of a nanny, while working mothers whose income falls below the income tax threshold would see no benefit. Trump's expanded plan, outlined this week, includes the government rebates.
The plan also skirts criticism from religious conservatives, who have fought government tax policies they say encourage women to leave the home to seek employment, rather than stay home to raise children. Stay-at-home moms and dads would be permitted to apply for the tax deduction the same as working parents under Trump's proposal.