Ivanka Trump joined U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in promoting the Republicans’ proposed tax overhaul at a public meeting in Ocean County, New Jersey, today. About 150 people crowded into the firehouse in Bayview for a chat moderated by U.S. Rep. Tom MacArthur.
Attendance was by invitation only, so no unwelcome questions were asked.
Mnuchin and Trump said the overhaul will simplify the tax code, create jobs by easing business tax burdens, and give middle-class families a tax break.
But the details of the differing House and Senate versions are complicated, which makes it hard to follow and harder to sort out the impact of various provisions.
Take, for example, the goal of easing the burdens of working mothers, something Ivanka Trump has talked about and lobbied for since the 2016 campaign.
Trump said she’s proud the House Republican plan will help working mothers by increasing the child tax credit from $1,000 to $1,600 a year.
“I realize how hard it is to balance the competing demands of work and family, and I am in a situation that is far more fortunate than most,” Trump told the crowd. “I have help. I have resources that enable me to do what I do every day. And too few families have the same support.”
The House plan also offers a $300 tax credit for caring for a dependent adult, such as a parent.
But critics have noted that under the plan the child tax credit expires in five years, and it also eliminates tax deductions for businesses that provide employer-sponsored child care.
A big issue in New Jersey is the proposal to eliminate the federal tax deduction for state and local taxes paid.
The Senate version eliminates the deductions for state and local taxes.
But MacArthur proudly noted that he got a provision in the House version to preserve a deduction for property taxes up to $10,000.
The crowd mostly loved the presentation.
Sam Cammarato of Bayview said he’s inspired by this president.
“He’s a billionaire, and yet he’s been our champion, not for businesses, for local people,” Cammarato said. “He’s almost like Roosevelt re-incarnated.”
One Democrat managed to get in. Marianne Clemente of Barnegat wasn’t allowed to ask a question, but said afterward there’s plenty not to like in the Republicans’ plan.
“The [loss of] deduction for medical expenses is going to hurt the seniors, and the wealthier are going to get more and more tax breaks,” she said.
A couple dozen protesters outside shared the opinion.
House leaders hope to vote on their plan this week. It’s not clear when or whether they’ll craft a compromise with Senate leaders that both houses can approve.