Ivanka Trump is defending a proposal her father's administration put forward earlier this year to mandate paid family leave, insisting that the plan is not another entitlement program.
In a letter published Tuesday by The Wall Street Journal, the first daughter and presidential advisor described the $25 billion plan to require employers to provide six weeks of paid family leave as "an investment in America's working families" -- one that is necessary to help new parents keep their jobs and that will give a boost to the economy by supporting women's ability to stay in the workforce after giving birth.
"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. "While this policy will benefit all working parents, it will have an especially positive effect for women, who are far more likely than men to leave the workforce to provide unpaid care for a child."
Ivanka Trump through the years
Ivanka Trump through the years
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395848 01: *** EXCLUSIVE *** (ITALY OUT) Super model Ivanka Trump walking her dog Tyler on Madison Avenue October 14, 2001 in New York City. (Photo by Arnaldo Magnani/Getty Images)
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NEW YORK - APRIL 26: (U.S. TABLOIDS AND HOLLYWOOD REPORTER OUT) Ivanka Trump attends the 'Dangerous Liasons: The Art of Seduction' The Metropolitan Museums Costume Institute Benefit Gala April 26, 2004 in New York City. (Photo by Peter Kramer/Getty Images)
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PALM BEACH, FL - JANUARY 27: Junior Chairwoman, Ivanka Trump attends the 50th Annual International Red Cross Ball at Mar A Lago on January 27, 2007 in Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo by Larry Marano/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 13: Ivanka Trump attends The American Museum of Natural History's Annual Winter Dance on February 13, 2007 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - MAY 07: Ivanka Trump attends the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Benefit Gala 'Poiret: King Of Fashion' at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 7, 2007 in New York City. (Photo by Peter Kramer/Getty Images)
NEW YORK CITY - MARCH 4: Real Estate developer Ivanka Trump walks in stunning style to the Regis and Kelly Show at ABC Studios on the Upper West Side on March 4, 2008 in New York City, New York. The daughter of billionaire Donald Trump and Ivana Trump looked very chic as she walked through New York City. (Photos by Christopher Peterson/BuzzFoto.com) ***FEE MUST BE AGREED PRIOR TO USAGE *** Buzz Foto LLC http://www.buzzfoto.com/ 1112 Montana Ave suite 80 Santa Monica CA 90403 1 310 441 4464 1 310 980 8822
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LATE NIGHT WITH JIMMY FALLON -- Episode 133 -- Airdate 10/15/2009 -- Pictured: (l-r) Jimmy Fallon plays beer pong with Ivanka Trump on October 15, 2009 (Photo by Tracy Leeds/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
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NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 14: Ivanka Trump and Kristin Cavallari attend the Dennis Basso Fall 2012 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at the The Stage at Lincoln Center on February 14, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Jerritt Clark/WireImage)
MIAMI, FL - MARCH 08: Ivanka Trump looks on after the announcement of the purchase by the Trump Organization of the Doral Hotel & Country Club prior to the start of the first round of the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship on the TPC Blue Monster at Doral Golf Resort and Spa on March 8, 2012 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Ron Elkman/Sports Imagery/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 17: Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump attend the Vanity Fair Party during the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival at the State Supreme Courthouse on April 17, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage)
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Ivanka Trump, daughter of billionaire real estate developer Donald J. Trump and executive vice president of development and acquisitions for Trump Organization LLC, center, attends the annual benefit of the Gracie Mansion Conservancy at Gracie Mansion in New York, U.S., on Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. Gracie Mansion Conservancy raises funds privately to support the upkeep of the house. Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg via Getty Images
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NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 11: Anna Wintour, Anthony Weiner and Ivanka Trump attend the 2015 amfAR New York Gala at Cipriani Wall Street on February 11, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Tachman/Getty Images)
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Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump pats his expecting daughter Ivanka Trump while celebrating victory in the South Carolina primary in Spartanburg, South Carolina, February 20, 2016. Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump grabbed a big win in the South Carolina primary, capturing about a third of the votes, according to early counts, but all major networks projected Trrump the winner. / AFP / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
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Trump's letter is in response to a May 26 column in which the Journal's editorial board opposed the legislation she championed, saying the policy would make it more expensive for employers to hire new workers.
"President Trump is asking Republicans to start a bidding war for government family benefits, which is bad policy and worse politics," the conservative-leaning editorial board wrote.
"As usual the policy sounds unobjectionable but the details are messy. If the benefit is available regardless of income, the government will subsidize affluent families who don't need assistance," they wrote. "But inevitably the benefit will phase out as income rises like dozens of other federal subsidies. That could create another disincentive for work and advancement that traps families in poverty."
In a separate column on June 23, the board explained that their opposition was not to paid leave in principle, but to "a government plan to create a new spending entitlement through unemployment insurance."
In her response, Trump argued that relying on companies to provide the benefits necessary to help parents simply wasn't working.
"Unfortunately, those who need these benefits the most aren't getting them; the poorest, most vulnerable workers in our society get left behind," she wrote. "Currently, only 6% of workers in the bottom income quartile have access to paid family leave. Studies show that these individuals—particularly women without a college degree—are far more likely to lose or quit their jobs in the event of childbirth, resulting in a far greater cost to society over the long term."
She said that a paid leave policy would help ensure that both mothers and fathers share parenting duties by giving both parents the ability to take time off. And, pointing to research that said new mothers who don't get paid leave are almost 40 percent less likely to be working a year after their child is born than those who do, she said the policy would help reduce hiring biases, close the pay gap between men and women and ease women's struggles tore-enter the workforce.
The White House's proposal ought to be considered a starting point, she explained.
"We agree wholeheartedly that government benefits should not be a substitute for private-sector investment," she wrote. "We see a national paid-leave benefit as the necessary floor from which private sector companies and state governments can build."
"Providing a national guaranteed paid-leave program – with a reasonable time limit and benefit cap – isn't an entitlement, it's an investment in America's working families," she concluded.
Trump took meetings with lawmakers on Capitol Hill last month, hoping to win votes for her plan. She has struggled to get the backing of Republicans, who have concerns about the economic impact of the plan, while Democrats say her plan is too stingy in limiting benefits to first-time parents.