The “Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014,” S. 1086, passed the Senate amended on March 13, 2014. The bill was approved by the House on a voice vote, with amendments, on Sept. 15, 2014. A vote on cloture, which means to end debate so that an up-or-down vote can be taken, passed overwhelmingly on Nov. 13, 2014. The cloture vote was #275. Only one Senator, Mike Lee (R-UT) voted against cloture.
The House version was accepted by the Senate 88-1 to give final congressional approval to the measure, with Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, the only no vote. Reportedly, Lee opposed the bill because he wasn’t allowed to offer an amendment that he said would curb fraud in child care programs. Senator Lee wrote: “In that time, (since the end of the cold war) the costs of the staples of middle-class life—housing, health care, education, child-rearing, and retirement security—have risen, unabated. Yet take-home pay is stagnant and jobs are increasingly insecure. We are not getting this right.” Lee seems to understand the problem, but isn’t willing to help advance a solution.
The Amendments made by the House seem inconsequential–perhaps they were intended merely to goad the Senate. Here is an example.
Part of Section 6 as passed by the Senate:
Requires states receiving funds under the CCDBG Act to: (1) support the training, professional development, and professional advancement of the child care workforce; (2) support the use of early learning and developmental guidelines; (3) develop and implement a tiered quality rating system for child care providers; and (4) improve the supply and quality of child care programs and services for infants and toddlers through specified activities …
As amended by the House:
Requires states receiving funds under the CCDBG Act to: (1) support training and professional development of the child care workforce, (2) improve development or use of early learning and developmental guidelines, (3) develop or enhance a tiered quality rating system for child care providers and services, and (4) improve the supply and quality of child care programs and services for infants and toddlers through specified activities.
The “Child Care and Development Block Grant program – which provides billions of dollars in state aid annually to help low-income families afford child care services – has been due for reauthorization since 1996. S. 1086 provisions require background checks on all child care providers and at least one annual inspection of providers. Whether or not these new provisions are wise, it is good that the program will be reauthorized as President Obama is expected to sign the bill into law.
© William Hungerford – November 2014