Senate Subcommittee Increases Funding for Child Care and Early Education

Jul 27, 2010

By Danielle Ewen

The Senate Labor, Health, and Human Services Subcommittee of the Committee on Appropriations today proposed significant investments in early childhood programs, including $1 billion in new funds for the Child Care and Development Block Grant, an increase of $990.3 million for Head Start and Early Head Start, and $300 million for a new Early Learning Challenge Fund.  These investments were part of the subcommittee's plan for FY 2011 funding for agencies under its jurisdiction. These amounts exceed the House Subcommittee allocations earlier this month, and are higher than the President's request.

Committee Chairman Tom Harkin highlighted the importance of these programs even in these difficult times in his opening statement:

"This is a period of great economic uncertainty for our nation," Harkin said. "Although the economy is expanding again, far too many Americans still can't find a job, and the threat of a double-dip recession looms large. In the longer term, the national debt continues to rise to dangerous levels. As the largest nondefense Appropriations bill that Congress will consider this year, the Labor-HHS bill must respond to both of these challenges, addressing today's hard economic realities while taking every possible opportunity to reduce waste, fraud, and abuse so as to reduce the deficit in the long run.

"Three priorities permeate this bill," Harkin continued. "First, it invests in critical programs that help the neediest Americans-programs that offer job training, protect workers from safety and health hazards, and provide a safety net for those struggling just to make ends meet. Second, this bill recognizes that every taxpayer dollar must be used wisely. And the third priority is reform. This bill includes several initiatives that will leverage systemic changes in the areas of education, health and labor."

This incredible victory is just the first step in a long appropriations process. Later this week the full committee will vote, followed by an eventual vote by the full Senate and a conference process with the House. 

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