House Subcommittee Increases Funding for Child Care and Early Education

Jul 16, 2010

By Danielle Ewen

On July 15, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education held a markup to determine FY 2011 funding levels for programs in the subcommittee's jurisdiction. Included in that group are the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), Head Start, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), and special education programs. While the overall bill is $1.5 billion below the President's budget request for the programs, child care and early education programs did receive important increases.

The legislation increases CCDBG by $700 million. This would be the largest increase to baseline child care funding this decade. While this is less than the President's budget request, it is a significant increase that will help states maintain some of the investments they have made through ARRA funds. To help ensure that classrooms serving infants, toddlers and preschool-age children with ARRA funds do not have to be closed, the bill also calls for increasing Head Start by $866 million.

Several programs in the Department of Education were also increased. Title I of ESEA received an increase of three percent and IDEA received an increase of four percent. Race to the Top grants received $800 million and the Investing in Innovation grant program received $400 million.

In his opening statement, Chairman Obey noted the importance of the proposed investments: "in this bill we place the greatest emphasis on programs that help workers and families cope with hard times and that help set the stage for further economic recovery and future growth." He went on to say that, while the overall total in the proposal is less than the President requested, "[g]iven the needs of so many Americans living on the edge, I wish it were not so. But, the resources available to this subcommittee are limited. We can't do everything that might be useful, or everything the President or members of this subcommittee propose. But we should try to do what's most important."

This bill is just the first step in the federal Appropriations process. Next, the full committee must mark up a proposal and accept the subcommittee bill, which will be followed by a vote by the full House. The Senate Appropriations committee has not yet acted. Nonetheless, the increases in this bill reflect an understanding that there is a real need for increased child care and early education funding and the importance of these programs for states, local communities, and families. 

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