Senate advances child care bill

The Senate accepted slight changes the House made to a bill that improves child care for low-income working families.

The Senate voted 96-1 to end debate on the motion to concur on the House amendment to S. 1086.

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The Child Care & Development Block Grant (CCDBG) reauthorization, provides block grants to states to help low-income working parents obtain child care for more than 1.5 million children under age 13.

In March, the Senate passed the bill 97-1 after allowing several amendment votes. The House passed the measure with minor tweaks in September.

Senate adoption of the House changes will send the bill to President Obama’s desk before becoming law. That vote could happen next week.

Sen. Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderGOP senators to donors: Stick with us regardless of Trump Overnight Healthcare: Mysterious new Zika case | Mental health bill in doubt | Teletraining to fight opioids Hopes dim for mental health deal MORE (R-Tenn.), ranking member on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee said the child care block grant program is “enormously successful.”

“The Child Care and Development Block Grant is a good example of the government working as an enabler rather than simply prescribing mandates,” Alexander said on the Senate floor Wednesday. “The Child Care and Development Block Grant provides $5.3 billion to families across the country, namely mothers, who are going to school so they can get a job.”

The CCDBG program hadn’t been reauthorized since 1996. The new legislation updates the program so that states would 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.

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