Yesterday, the House Committee on Appropriations convened to markup the FY2019 funding bill for Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (L-HHS). After considering upwards of 50 amendments, the full committee approved the bill by a vote of 30 – 22 along party lines. The L-HHS Subcommittee oversees funding for the core early childhood education (ECE) programs. In a year with tight caps on the 302(b) allocation, vital ECE investments have been allocated sustained or increased levels in the FY2019 House bill.
In his opening remarks, L-HHS Subcommittee Chairman Cole (R-OK) emphasized the importance of supporting young children in the L-HHS bill: “I’m a big believer that early intervention in the life of a child can pay huge dividends down the road. To that end, Head Start receives a $50 million increase, Preschool Development Grants are continued at $250 million dollars and child care programs are continued at the historic levels contained in the FY18 omnibus.” Appropriations Chairman Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) also highlighted the importance of early childhood education in his opening remarks: “L-HHS funds critical programs, it’s often called the People’s Bill. The bipartisan caps deal recognized the importance of spending on domestic programs that reflect American values…the legislation also includes funding that will help prepare the next generation of Americans to be a productive part of the workforce. This includes funding for important programs like TRIO and early childhood education that start children off on the right foot.”
Both Full Committee Ranking Member Lowey (D-NY) and Subcommittee Ranking Member DeLauro (D-CT) called back to their support of the bipartisan FY2018 spending bill, asserting their opposition to the FY2019 House bill due to insufficient funding increases for L-HHS programs and the family separations taking place at the U.S.-Mexico border. The committee approved eighteen amendments, several of which passed with bipartisan support.
The core early learning programs are allocated the following levels in the House bill for FY2019:
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 House FY2019 bill: $5,226,000,000
As a result of the two-year budget deal that included an unprecedented increase in base funding for CCDBG, the House FY2019 allocation for CCDBG is level with FY2018 which amounts to an increase of nearly $5.9 billion over the 2 fiscal years.
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 House FY2019 bill: $9,913,095,000
The Committee recommends a $50 million overall increase above FY2018 for Head Start. Within that Head Start allocation, the House further specifies that $25 million above FY2018 spending be allocated to the Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership grants and to the conversation of Head Start slots into Early Head Start slots, both of which serve the infant and toddler population.
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 House FY2019 bill: $250,000,000
Funding for the new Preschool Development Grants is level with FY2018 in the House bill.
Following yesterday’s vote, the bill now moves to the House floor, where it will be considered by the full House of Representatives. The Senate L-HHS FY2019 bill, which overall would spend $2.2 billion above FY2018 enacted levels, will soon be considered by the full Senate.