FORECAST: Cloudy with Some Sunshine
GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN, CONTINUING RESOLUTION?
Funding Decisions Will Impact Early Childhood Education
Note: Federal funding conversations include some terms that may be unfamiliar to you. To follow the debates and be able to take action, use our glossary and other background materials.
The federal fiscal year ends at midnight on September 30. If Congress does not pass and the President does not sign appropriations bills, the government will shut down until a Continuing Resolution or appropriations bills is enacted. A shutdown would mean a hold on checks for Head Start, child care, education and a host of federally funded services.
What is holding up the spending bills? The biggest problem is the significantly large difference in overall spending limits between the House and Senate – $55 billion. The House numbers assume the continuation of the sequestration; the Senate numbers assume sequestration is terminated. Second, some in the House are using the end of the fiscal year as a way to defund the Affordable Care Act (health care). Even if the health care funding is settled, there is still the real problem of very different spending limits that have to be reconciled. The Administration has issued a veto threat on the House bill.
And in just a few more weeks – Debt Limit. Another funding fight with global consequences happens around October 15 when the U.S. government reaches its debt limit. This is a separate but extremely important fiscal decision. If the government fails to resolve the debt ceiling issue, this could have very harmful impacts on our economy, and in turn, funding for programs and services.
In the midst of this funding cliffhanger, there is something to smile about. Last week, MomsRising, the Strong Start Campaign, and National Women’s Law Center hosted a Chutes & Ladders event on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol. The board game was played by members of Congress and local children using facts about early childhood investments on a life-size board. The event garnered a lot of political press. See photos of the event with Representatives George Miller (CA), DeLauro (CT), Wasserman Schulz (FL), and Senators Hirono (HI), Casey (PA), Harkin (IA), Kaine (VA), Gillibrand (NY) and Murray (WA). Please thank your Senator or Representative if they came out and stood with us for early learning investments.
SENATE COMMITTEE PASSES REAUTHORIZATION
OF CHILD CARE DEVELOPMENT FUND
Last week the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) marked up a Child Care & Development Block Grant (CCDBG) reauthorization bill. The bill – which does not make funding increases because it is an authorizing bill – would make several changes.
Here are some highlights:
The bill addresses many of the same areas that were included in new proposed regulations for CCDBG introduced by the Office of Child Care in May. It is too soon to tell if the House will take up this bill, a different version, or none at all. CCDBG funding depends on increases in two funding sources determined by different committees: discretionary appropriations and mandatory funding (see Fiscal Quagmire above).
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