Ivanka Trump held an off-the-record tax reform meeting Wednesday morning with several prominent conservative leaders in an attempt to coalesce them behind the idea of expanding child tax credits.
Trump, the eldest daughter of President Donald Trump who has played an instrumental role serving as his senior adviser, has been coordinating with Sen. Marco Rubio's (R., Fla.) office to hash out the policy details, Politico reported. She told conservatives, including Ralph Reed and Grover Norquist, that she would like to see the tax credits double from $1,000 to at least $2,000 annually. Politico discussed Trump's reasons for throwing her weight behind the change:
Doubling the child tax credit would boost the administration’s talking point of a tax overhaul as a populist move to aid middle class families, a selling point for President Donald Trump’s base.
The major political hiccup is that expanding any type of tax credit costs money, and the administration is already on a serious hunt for revenue to pay for lowering both the corporate and individual tax rates.
The child tax credit is also not something that tends to unite or animate the broader business community, one of the major constituents of tax changes. Businesses are far more focused on protecting its individual tax goodies and ensuring that the corporate rate goes as low as possible.
Trump's 25-minute pitch to the conservatives leaders was a cordial affair at the Americans for Tax Reform headquarters in downtown Washington, D.C., according to four people who attended the meeting. Trump was accompanied by Sen. Mike Lee (R., Utah) and Rep. David Schweikert (R., Ariz.).
Trump did not provide numbers on what the policy would cost overall, or whether it would apply to all taxpayers or just those who are below a certain income bracket. The initiative is one previously alluded to in an April White House document that outlined the administration's vision for tax reform. Part of the appeal of the tax credit is that it benefits regular working families, according to meeting attendees who spoke to Politico.
"There is fierce unrest at the grassroots level that the tax code does not work for people and only works for narrow special interests," said one conservative who attended the meeting. "This could be a different way to persuade people that tax reform works for them."
Some attendees acknowledged that conservatives don't usually champion tax credits based on the approach that the market should solve realated issues. Trump, however, believes it is an important issue. She further fears the issue could get lost amid tax reform's many moving parts.
Among the 25 conservative individuals and groups in attendance on Wednesday was former Sen. Rick Santorum, Ralph Reed of the Faith & Freedom Coalition, and representatives from Americans for Prosperity, National Taxpayers Union, American Enterprise Institute, Focus on the Family, March for Life, and the Southern Baptist Convention.