The Hill: Senate sends childcare bill to White House

Posted on November 17, 2014

The Senate accepted Monday slight changes the House made to a bill that improves childcare for low-income, working families before voting 88-1 to send the bill President Obama.
The Child Care & Development Block Grant (CCDBG) reauthorization, S. 1086, provides block grants to states to help low-income, working parents obtain childcare for more than 1.5 million children under age 13.

“I cannot be more pleased that we’re sending this important legislation to the president’s desk,” Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) said Monday. “We know that education begins at birth.”

In March, the Senate passed the bill 97-1 after allowing several amendment votes. The House passed the measure with minor tweaks in September.

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), ranking member on the Senate HELP Committee, said the childcare block grant program is “enormously successful.”

“It doesn’t mandate from Washington, it enables from Washington,” Alexander said. “Mothers, themselves, when they are choosing daycares, ought to be able to make that judgment.”

The CCDBG program hadn’t been reauthorized since 1996.

The new legislation updates the program so that states would have to conduct background checks on all childcare providers receiving the grants and perform at least one annual inspection of licensed CCDBG providers. It also allows states to use some of the federal funds to promote nutritional and physical education for children in the CCDBG program.