Each year, Congress determines funding levels for all of the federal defense and non-defense discretionary programs, including those that support the care and education of children from birth through age five. Traditionally, subcommittees within the House and Senate Appropriations Committees develop their own legislation that sets funding levels for the programs within their jurisdiction, which is then taken up by the full appropriations committees, and later the full legislative body, before a negotiation process between the two chambers of Congress and ultimately the president’s signature.
Over the past ten years, federal early learning programs have seen steady, significant progress through increased, bipartisan investments from both Congress and the White House. Between FY 2016 and FY 2019, Head Start and Early Head Start have seen an $890 million increase in funding, including $170 million for Early Head Start – Child Care Partnerships. Additionally, as part of negotiations for the Fiscal Year 2018 budget, the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) saw a historical increase of $2.37 billion over FY 2017 funding levels.
In September 2020, bipartisan leaders of the House and the Senate passed a Continuing Resolution that funds the government through December 11, 2020. Funding for programs will remain level with Fiscal Year 2020. President Trump signed the Continuing Resolution on October 1, 2020 to begin Fiscal Year 2021.