Senate votes to end child care grants for millionaires

The Senate voted 100-0 Thursday for an amendment that would prohibit parents with more than $1 million in assets from qualifying for child care grants.

The Senate is considering S. 1086, the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) reauthorization bill, and final passage is expected later in the day.

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Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) introduced the amendment to the bipartisan bill, which provides block grants to states to help low-income working parents obtain child care for more than 1.5 million children under age 13.

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

The bill also aims to improve the quality of the CCDBG program, which hasn’t been reauthorized since 1996. If passed into law, a 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 program.

The Senate also passed amendments from Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), John Thune (R-S.D.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) through voice votes.

Tester’s amendment provides more flexibility to allow Native American tribes to use their block grant funds to improve child care facilities.

Thune's amendment specifies that child care certificates may be included in state strategies to increase the supply of child care.

Bennet's amendment expands the requirement that space allotted to child care providers in federal buildings will be used to provide child care services to children of whom at least 50 percent have one parent or guardian employed by the federal government.

Portman's amendment provides for evidence-based training that promotes early language and literacy development. And Warren's amendment would connect child care workers pursuing postsecondary degrees in that field to federal and state student loan programs.

On Wednesday, the Senate adopted nine other amendments.

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