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Home > News & Media Center > Op Eds, Press Releases, and Statements > Press Release

 
 

UPDATE

March 31, 2004

Good News! Senate Passes Increased Funding for Child Care!

On March 30, the U.S. Senate voted 78 to 20 to increase funding for the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) by $7 billion over five years. If included in the final legislation, this vote means that your state will have more funds to provide child care services over each of the next five years.

Senators Snowe (R-ME), Dodd (D-CT), and Hatch (R-UT) were the primary authors of this child care amendment, offered as part of the Senate consideration of reauthorization of the federal welfare program, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF). The final vote dismissed the continued opposition of the White House. (See the Statement of Administration Policy at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/legislative/sap/108-2/hr4sap-s.pdf)

Our thanks to all of you who took the time to contact your Senators to let them know that this is a critical need in your state. See the below list for how your Senator voted on the Snowe-Dodd-Hatch amendment. Now is a good time to thank those Senators who supported the amendment by mailing, faxing or e-mailing them a thank you letter. (See the sample letter below or use CWLA Kids' Advocate Online at: http://cw2k.econstituent.com/cwla)

NEXT STEPS

After this vote on the child care amendment, it is unclear how many other amendments the Senate will consider or when a final vote may occur on the overall bill. It is possible that other proposed amendments may include changes to the work requirements, support for marriage, benefits for legal immigrants, expanded waiver authority for other federal programs, tribal issues, treatment of individuals with disabilities, and barriers to work. Unrelated amendments may also be offered on the federal minimum wage and overtime labor laws.

If the Senate approves the final (Senate Substitute to H.R. 4) legislation, the total increases for child care funding would then be negotiated in a Senate-House conference committee. The full Senate and House would then vote on a final compromise bill. The House-passed TANF bill includes only a $1 billion increase over five years in child care funding. More information will be shared after the negotiations begin.

BACKGROUND

Since 2002, Congress has frozen federal child care funding that is available through the Child Care and Development Fund at $4.8 billion. With this level of assistance, states have been able to serve only 14%, or one in seven, of the federally eligible children with child care needs. The demand for child care could also grow if Congress changes the law to require TANF recipients to work additional hours.

In the past, some states have been able to rely on TANF funds for child care, however, this source of child care funding has now leveled off. The competing demands for TANF dollars for cash assistance and for other services, including child welfare, and the effect of inflation on a fixed TANF block grant, will make it more difficult for states to utilize TANF dollars for child care over the next few years.

States are already making deep cutbacks in child care--reducing income eligibility to receive child care help, increasing parent co-payments, cutting provider reimbursement rates, and scaling back quality improvement initiatives. Consequently, many providers are closing their doors and hundreds of thousands of families remain on long waiting lists for the child care assistance they need to stay employed and provide a safe, supportive setting for their children. Unless increased funding is approved in the final TANF bill, at least 360,000 children now receiving child care assistance will lose it by 2008 as a result of inflation.

For greater detail on the Child Care and TANF legislation, access CWLA's 2004 Children's Legislative Agenda online at:

Child Care: http://www.cwla.org/advocacy/2004legagenda04.htm
TANF: http://www.cwla.org/advocacy/2004legagenda15.htm

For more information, contact John Sciamanna, CWLA Senior Government Affairs Associate, at 202/639-4919 or jsciamanna@cwla.org.

U.S. Senate Vote, March 30, 2004: Amendment to Increase Child Care Funding

Alabama: Jeff Sessions (R), Nay; Richard C. Shelby (R), Yea
Alaska: Lisa Murkowski (R), Yea; Ted Stevens (R), Yea
Arizona: Jon L. Kyl (R), Nay; John McCain (R), Yea
Arkansas: Blanche L. Lincoln (D), Yea; Mark Pryor (D), Yea
California: Barbara Boxer (D), Yea; Dianne Feinstein (D), Yea
Colorado: Wayne Allard (R), Nay; Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R), Yea
Connecticut: Christopher J. Dodd (D), Yea; Joseph I. Lieberman (D), Yea
Delaware: Joseph R. Biden (D), Yea; Thomas R. Carper (D), Yea
Florida: Bob Graham (D), Yea; Bill Nelson (D), Yea
Georgia: Saxby Chambliss (R), Nay; Zell B. Miller (D), Nay
Hawaii: Daniel K. Akaka (D), Yea; Daniel K. Inouye (D), Yea
Idaho: Larry Craig (R), Nay; Michael D. Crapo (R), Nay
Illinois: Richard J. Durbin (D), Yea; Peter G. Fitzgerald (R), Yea
Indiana: B. Evan Bayh (D), Yea; Richard G. Lugar (R), Yea
Iowa: Charles E. Grassley (R), Yea; Tom Harkin (D), Yea
Kansas: Sam Brownback (R), Yea; Pat Roberts (R), Yea
Kentucky: Jim Bunning (R), Yea; Mitch McConnell (R), Nay
Louisiana: John B. Breaux (D), Yea; Mary L. Landrieu (D), Yea
Maine: Susan M. Collins (R), Yea; Olympia J. Snowe (R), Yea
Maryland: Barbara A. Mikulski (D), Yea; Paul S. Sarbanes (D), Yea
Massachusetts: Edward M. Kennedy (D), Yea; John F. Kerry (D), Not Voting
Michigan: Carl Levin (D), Yea; Debbie Stabenow (D), Yea
Minnesota: Norm Coleman (R), Yea; Mark Dayton Dayton (D), Yea
Mississippi: Thad Cochran (R), Yea; Trent Lott (R), Nay
Missouri: Christopher S. Bond (R), Yea; Jim Talent (R), Yea
Montana: Max Baucus (D), Yea; Conrad Burns (R), Nay
Nebraska: Chuck Hagel (R), Yea; E. Benjamin Nelson (D), Yea
Nevada: John Ensign (R), Nay; Harry Reid (D), Yea
New Hampshire: Judd Gregg (R), Nay; John E. Sununu (R), Nay
New Jersey: Jon S. Corzine (D), Yea; Frank Lautenberg (D), Yea
New Mexico: Jeff Bingaman (D), Yea; Pete V. Domenici (R), Not Voting
New York: Hillary Rodham Clinton (D), Yea; Charles E. Schumer (D), Yea
North Carolina: Elizabeth Dole (R), Yea; John R. Edwards (D), Yea
North Dakota: Kent Conrad (D), Yea; Byron L. Dorgan (D-), Yea
Ohio: Mike DeWine (R), Yea; George V. Voinovich (R), Yea
Oklahoma: James M. Inhofe (R), Nay; Don Nickles (R), Nay
Oregon: Gordon H. Smith (R), Yea; Ron Wyden (D), Yea
Pennsylvania: Richard J. Santorum (R), Nay; Arlen Specter (R), Yea
Rhode Island: Lincoln D. Chafee (R), Yea; John F. Reed (D), Yea
South Carolina: Lindsey O. Graham (R), Yea; Ernest F. Hollings (D), Yea
South Dakota: Thomas A. Daschle (D), Yea; Tim P. Johnson (D), Yea
Tennessee: Lamar Alexander (R), Yea; Bill Frist (R), Yea
Texas: John Cornyn (R), Nay; Kay Bailey Hutchison (R), Yea
Utah: Robert F. Bennett (R), Yea; Orrin G. Hatch (R), Yea
Vermont: James M. Jeffords (I), Yea; Patrick J. Leahy (D), Yea
Virginia: George F. Allen (R), Nay; John William Warner (R), Yea
Washington: Maria Cantwell (D), Yea; Patty Murray (D), Yea
West Virginia: Robert C. Byrd (D), Yea; John Rockefeller (D), Yea
Wisconsin: Russ Feingold (D), Yea; Herbert H. Kohl (D), Yea
Wyoming: Michael B. Enzi (R), Nay; Craig Thomas Thomas (R), Nay

SAMPLE THANK YOU LETTER

(Also available at: http://cw2k.econstituent.com/cwla)

The Honorable [INSERT FULL NAME]
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator [INSERT LAST NAME]:

Thank you for voting in support of the Snowe-Dodd-Hatch amendment to the child care and TANF reauthorization legislation. Your vote acknowledges the growing and unmet need for child care and also recognizes the importance of child care services for working families.

Nationally, fewer than one in seven eligible children now receive federal child care assistance. As a result, many families face the difficult challenge of balancing employment responsibilities with the need to find adequate child care. This need will continue to grow if Congress fails to provide significant increases in child care funding in 2004.

As Congress prepares to negotiate the differences between the Senate- and House-passed TANF reauthorization bill, I urge you to make sure that the final child care and TANF bill includes the additional $7 billion in child care funding approved by the Senate.

Sincerely,

INSERT YOUR NAME
INSERT YOUR ADDRESS



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