Thank you all for your swift and vocal outreach in support of Senator Harkin’s amendment to the Continuing Resolution that would have increased funding for Head Start and child care. Unfortunately, the 54 votes it garnered fell shy of the 60 votes it needed, and the amendment was defeated.
Meanwhile, the groundwork is being laid for the next year’s federal budget. The House and Senate budget committee chairs—Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen. Patty Murray—have each drafted a budget resolution that outlines a broad framework for tax revenue, entitlements, and spending.
Rep. Ryan’s budget, which was approved by the committee in a party-line vote and will move to the House floor next week, balances the budget by severely constraining domestic spending and reducing safety net entitlements. Sen. Murray released her counterpart budget proposal earlier this week, and it is currently being debated by the committee, with a floor vote expected next week. It moves toward a balanced budget by constraining entitlement spending and generating $1 trillion in additional revenue.
Of particular interest to the early learning field, Sen. Murray’s proposal includes three “reserve funds” for future legislation to add resources to home visiting, child care, and pre-kindergarten programs. It does not specify amounts, but it does indicate an intention to provide additional funding—most likely through the mandatory side of the budget, which operates separately from the annual appropriations process.
These budget proposals set the stage for the year ahead and send symbolic messages about Congress’s priorities. As always, we will keep you posted as the process unfolds and more details emerge about plans for early learning.