Ivanka Trump takes key role in tax overhaul fight

Ivanka Trump is lobbying lawmakers while trying to avoid West Wing histrionics involving her father.
Andrew Harnik/Associated Press/file
Ivanka Trump is lobbying lawmakers while trying to avoid West Wing histrionics involving her father.

WASHINGTON — Ivanka Trump successfully pushed to get a child tax credit included in the Republican tax overhaul proposal. Now she is focusing on the biggest political challenge of her time in Washington: helping to get the overall tax plan over the finish line.

The White House adviser and first daughter is lobbying on Capitol Hill to make sure an expansion of the current $1,000 child tax credit stays in the tax plan and that it’s big enough to matter.

But final passage of the tax-overhaul bill is anything but a sure bet.


Trump has been wooing lawmakers and conservative advocacy groups behind closed doors and is expected to make her case in public as well, as part of a coordinated White House push for the tax overhaul.

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All this as she tries to steer clear of the West Wing histrionics involving her father that have threatened to engulf her at times. She is studiously sticking to her policy agenda, promoting issues such as STEM education and workforce development, while trying to tune out the noise.

‘‘A significant expansion of the child tax credit will help parents have more money at a time in their lives when they need it the most and give them the flexibility to make the best choices regarding their families’ care,’’ Ivanka Trump said.

Trump stepped away from her executive roles at The Trump Organization and running her own fashion brand to join the administration, alongside husband Jared Kushner.

She has won some praise for advocating for issues not often high on the Republican agenda, but has also faced criticism from liberals who expected her to do more to temper her father’s conservative agenda.


A White House official who was not authorized to publicly discuss internal thinking said Ivanka Trump has welcomed the more disciplined West Wing structure put in place by chief of staff John Kelly, believing a more orderly decision-making process allows her to focus on her priorities.

Still, some negative headlines have continued, including reports that Kushner set up a private e-mail account after the election to conduct work-related business.

Protective of his children, President Trump has expressed concern over criticism of his family.

Ivanka Trump told US Weekly in a recent interview that she tries to ignore the critics. ‘‘If I engaged too deeply, I wouldn’t be able to prioritize the things I came here to do,’’ she said.

As the tax negotiations get underway, Trump is stepping up her activity on Capitol Hill.


She met last week with Representative Cathy McMorris Rogers, a Washington Republican, and spoke with Representative Kristi Noem, a South Dakota Republican, and Senator Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican who has worked with her on the proposal, said the White House official.

She has met with Senators Lamar Alexander, a Tennessee Republican, and Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican, as well as Republicans and Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee.

She also spoke last month with conservative activists gathered at the headquarters of the group Americans for Tax Reform. The group’s president, Grover Norquist, said she was ‘‘very well received. Spoke without notes. She understood what was going on.’’

Trump and Kushner have also been quietly hosting dinners for lawmakers at their home in Washington’s Kalorama neighborhood in coordination with White House legislative officials.

A person familiar with the events, but not authorized to speak publicly about them, confirmed the bipartisan dinners, which have focused on a variety of topics and were first reported by Axios.

Some key details remain unsettled. The tax blueprint does not specify what the child tax credit should increase to, nor has Trump offered a number.