Bipartisan Vote in Senate Appropriations Committee Increases Early Learning Spending for FY2019

The Senate Appropriations Committee met today to consider the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (L-HHS) spending bill for FY2019. With bipartisan support, the bill passed the full committee by a vote of 30 – 1. Both leaders of the full committee, Chairman Shelby (R-AL) and Vice Chairman Leahy (D-VT), commended the bipartisan process through which the L-HHS bill was written.

L-HHS Subcommittee Chairman Blunt (R-MO) gave remarks on the bill and highlighted the subcommittee’s commitment to bipartisan compromise in order to make significant gains for health and education spending saying, “There were 6,164 member requests to be dealt with in this bill and we have tried hard to live with the commitment of our two committee leaders that we made in February that we would come up with a bill that we could all be supportive of.” In naming national priorities elevated in the bill, Chairman Blunt specifically called out the $250 million increase for Head Start. L-HHS Subcommittee Ranking Member Murray (D-WA), also gave remarks before the full committee sharing, “This bill continues and builds on the historic investment in child care and early learning across the country, which I consider to be another important step forward and a down payment on our work to make child care truly affordable, high quality and accessible to all.”

The Senate L-HHS FY2019 bill, which overall would spend $2.2 billion above FY2018 enacted levels, contains important increases for the core early learning and care programs:

Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG)

Through subsidies to states, CCDBG serves 1.4 million children annually, and allows parents to work while their children attend child care that promotes learning and healthy development. The increase in spending for CCDBG will equip states to implement the new regulations and help to ensure children benefit from high-quality early learning and care.

Allocation in Senate FY2019 bill: $5.2 billion

In keeping with the bipartisan budget deal, FY2019 funding for CCDBG will be level with FY2018, which maintains the historic $2.4 billion increase to help states implement the latest reauthorization of the CCDBG Act to fidelity. Previously, several states had to seek out compliance waivers from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) due to a lack of funds for meeting the new health and safety standards. The increase to the base funding for CCDBG will significantly support state efforts to improve child care quality that ultimately increase access for working families.

Head Start

Head Start serves over a million low-income children and families in communities across the country every year. Head Start, for 3- and 4-year-old preschoolers, and Early Head Start, for infants and toddlers, deliver comprehensive early learning, health, nutrition and family support services to low-income children and their families.

Allocation in Senate FY2019 bill: $10.1 billion

The Committee recommends a $250 million increase above FY2018 for Head Start. Of this amount, $215 million is intended to help the federal program keep up with costs, recruit and retain highly qualified staff, maintain enrollment, and provide high-quality early childhood services for children and families. The remaining $35 million is allocated for the continued expansion of duration services, so that more Head Start children and families benefit from full-day, full-year services.

Preschool Development Grants

The new Preschool Development Grants program provides competitive grants, administered by HHS in coordination with ED, for states to improve coordination, quality, and access for early childhood education for low- and moderate-income children from birth to kindergarten entry.

Allocation in Senate FY2019 bill: $250 million

Funding for the new Preschool Development G rants is level with FY2018 in the Senate bill.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Part B and Part C

IDEA ensures that children with disabilities access a free, appropriate, public education in the least restrictive environment. Section 619 of IDEA Part B refers to the scope of education services for children from ages three through five, and IDEA Part C refers to the scope of education services for infants and toddlers.

Allocation in Senate FY2019 bill: $13.3 billion

IDEA Parts B and C were allocated a combined $125 million increase above FY2018.

 

More detailed information on the allocations above will be known once the bill and report are released.

The audio of the full committee markup can be accessed here.

Check back soon at www.ffyf.org/blog for continued updates on the appropriations process.