STATEMENT: FFYF Executive Director Sarah Rittling on Senate Markup of FY24 Funding Levels for Child Care and Early Learning Programs
WASHINGTON – Today, the Senate Committee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies held a bipartisan mark up on proposed funding levels for child care and early learning programs for FY2024. Included in the bill, led by Senators Murray, Collins, Baldwin, and Capito:
- Overall: Senate Appropriations set the overall Labor-HHS spending number at $195.23 billion, which includes a $1 billion increase for early learning programs over fiscal year 2023.
- Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG): $8.7 billion – a $700 million increase over fiscal year 2023.
- Head Start and Early Head Start: $12.3 billion, a $275 million increase over fiscal year 2023
- Preschool Development Birth Through Five program (PDG B-5) : $310 million, a $5 million cut
The following is a statement from First Five Years Fund Executive Director Sarah Rittling about the bill.
“Prioritizing our nation’s existing child care programs has never been more urgent. Even while working within the constraints of a debt ceiling deal, it’s clear that lawmakers recognize the importance of child care and early learning funding to address the challenges facing America’s working families.
“We are especially grateful that, in light of the realities Congress is facing in this year’s tough fiscal environment, the Committee was able to come together to grow funding for our two most prominent programs, the Child Care and Development Block Grant (or CCDBG), and Head Start, and Early Head Start. These programs are essential to helping working parents find and afford the care they need to go to work, and ensure their kids can thrive. The PDG B-5 program would see cuts, but under this bill the program will continue, which is good news for states which use the funds to help child care and early learning programs work more effectively and efficiently.
“We are thankful for the bipartisan leadership of Senators Murray, Collins, Murray, Baldwin, and Capito in coming together to support our federal early learning and care programs.
“It doesn’t matter where you live: Prices continue to rise and waitlists are getting longer. It’s not surprising that our new polling shows Americans think federal funding for child care and early learning programs should be increased. Even after acknowledging concerns around the federal deficit, 74% of voters say they still believe that “increasing funding for child care and early childhood education programs is an important priority and a good use of tax dollars.
”We understand there’s a long road ahead, and as the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill moves through Congress, we look forward to working with lawmakers in the House to keep this momentum going.“