Reid hopes to finish child care bill this week

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Wednesday that he hopes the Senate completes work on a child care bill this week.

Later Wednesday, the Senate will begin consideration of S. 1086, the Child Care & Development Block Grant (CCDBG) reauthorization. It's unclear if amendments will be allowed.

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The bipartisan bill provides block grants to states to help low-income working parents obtain child care for more than 1.5 million children under age 13.

“A year of day care for an infant is more expensive than a year of tuition at a public university,” Reid said on the Senate floor. “For many low-income families child care is simply out of reach.”

The bill also aims to improve the CCDBG program, which hasn’t been reauthorized since 1996. If passed into law, state would now have to conduct background checks on all child care providers receiving the grants and perform at least one annual inspection of licensed CCDBG providers. It also allows states to use some of the federal funds to promote nutritional and physical education for children in the CCDBG program.

Sens. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) wrote the legislation.

Senators have only two days to work on the bill before leaving for a weeklong recess.