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Ivanka Trump advocates for ‘investment’ in family leave

Ivanka Trump is making a public pitch for the Trump administration’s paid family leave policy, arguing in a letter to the Wall Street Journal published Tuesday that the proposal is not an entitlement, but an investment.

“The policy outlined in the administration’s recent budget proposal emphasizes the need for mothers and fathers to have access to paid leave to encourage both parents to share parenting responsibilities and to strive toward minimizing hiring biases,” she wrote, arguing that paid family leave will “have an especially positive effect for women” and will be critical in “solving the persistent gender and minority pay gap that exists in part because of prolonged periods away from the workforce and challenges with re-entry.”

Her oped Tuesday responds to a May 23 editorial from the publication, with the headline “The Ivanka Entitlement,” which was critical of the proposal.

The provision in the White House’s proposed budget, which was released in late May, allocates six weeks for new mothers and fathers, including adoptive parents. The proposal allows states to establish their own family leave programs paid for by reforms to the unemployment insurance system.

But the policy faces an uphill battle in Congress. Conservatives also say the program is an entitlement, an argument Trump addressed in her letter.

“We agree wholeheartedly that government benefits should not be a substitute for private-sector investment. We see a national paid-leave benefit as the necessary floor from which private sector companies and state governments can build,” she wrote in the Journal.

A White House official told CNN the message is “to present a strong proposal in our budget as a stake in the ground.”

“This is a high priority issue and the administration is exploring all options, meeting weekly with congress and leaders from outside the government on the ultimate paid leave proposal that will work for all working families,” the official said.

Democrats, meanwhile, say the provision doesn’t go far enough.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, who campaigned in favor of paid family and medical leave, called the budget provision a “good start, but totally inadequate.”

The first daughter has made family leave part of her own platform, speaking about it during her Republican National Convention speech.

“As a mother myself, of three young children, I know how hard it is to work while raising a family. And I also know that I’m far more fortunate than most. American families need relief. Policies that allow women with children to thrive should not be novelties, they should be the norm,” she said last summer in Cleveland.

Trump, who serves as assistant to the President, is part of the team joining her father in Europe for the G20 summit this week, where she has helped with preparation of his remarks in a session on women’s economic empowerment.