- Federal Budget Update
- Rebuild America Act Introduced: Promotes More High-Quality, Affordable Child Care
U.S. House of Representatives Passes Dangerous Budget Plan – What’s Next?
Last week (March 29), the U.S. House of Representatives voted to adopt the budget plan – known by the name of the House Budget Chairman, Paul Ryan of Wisconsin – that further reduces discretionary spending by $19 billion less than the agreement made by Congress and the Administration last summer. The Ryan budget also would overhaul the tax code, with a reduction in revenues paid by cuts to programs. The budget resolution includes instructions to House appropriations committees to find an additional $261 billion in savings. NAEYC opposed the Ryan budget, calling it “a dangerous, short-sighted roadmap to deficit reduction, based on reducing tax obligations for wealthier taxpayers and making significant cuts to spending for critical programs that serve children and their families, including child care and Head Start, as well as other important needs such as Food Stamps.”
What will the Senate do? It is unlikely that the Senate will use the Ryan plan and more likely that they will produce a budget plan that honors the spending limits agreed to in the August 2011 budget/debt deal. In past years, it has become more common for the two bodies of Congress to not agree on a Budget Resolution. Because the President is not required to sign or veto a Budget Resolution, Congress can continue to move on appropriations bills for program-by-program spending and could advance legislation to modify the tax code (including letting the current tax cuts expire at the end of 2012 as now slated). Senate leaders have said they will move forward on appropriations bills in May.
What is NAEYC requesting for appropriations for fiscal year 2013? A $825 million increase for the Child Care & Development Block Grant; $325 million increase of Head Start; $20 million increase for Part C early intervention; a portion of Race To The Top for more state Early Learning Challenge grants; and to continue investments in Title I, IDEA and Pell Grants. To learn more, click here.
Senator Harkin Introduces Rebuild America Act: Would Invest in Early Childhood Education
Senator Harkin (IA), chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, on March 29, 2012 introduced the “Rebuild America Act” (S. 2252), which includes a range of strategies to help struggling middle-class families. We are pleased that this large-scale approach to economic security includes expanded access for families (under 200% of poverty) to high-quality, affordable child care. It would add a new section in CCDBG (not replacing the current CCDBG requirements or funds) to be known as CCDBG Plus. This would be a separate set of five-year grants to states to create more high-quality child care options for families and to strengthen the quality of care through grants and contracts. A portion of the funds must be used to enhance the skills, knowledge, credentials, and compensation of the child care workforce – including ways that support career advancement through career ladders and other activities to enhance child care quality and support child care providers, including family child care providers, in meeting the program’s standards. Grants and contracts would be used for programs that meet high standards of quality: program accreditation, high levels of a state’s QRIS, or Head Start standards. Two-thirds of these funds are targeted for infants and toddlers (an area of greatest need for high-quality, affordable care), and one-third for children under the age of 13. In addition to CCDBG Plus, Rebuild America legislation would authorize funding for the repair, renovation, and modernization of educational facilities, including early learning facilities. NAEYC was pleased to work with Senator Harkin on these provisions to create more access to and build the supply of high-quality child care.
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