Child Care Legislative History

The following provides a legislative history of Child Care during the 112th Congress through the first session of the 113th Congress.  For prior legislative history, please see the 2012 edition of the Green Book.

In the aftermath of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), which was signed into law by President Obama on February 17, 2009 (P.L. 111-5), annual appropriations laws have generally provided slight increases in discretionary CCDBG funding.  Despite this, discretionary CCDBG funding available in FY2013 ($2.206 billion) decreased relative to FY2012 ($2.278 billion) as a result of budget sequestration.  Sequestration is a spending reduction process under which budgetary resources are permanently canceled to enforce budget policy goals.  While the final FY2014 appropriations law (P.L. 113-76) increased discretionary CCDBG funding to $2.360 billion, it did so following a sixteen day funding gap and shutdown of the federal government that occurred due to the failure of Congress and the President to enact appropriations prior to the start of the fiscal year.  Anticipating the possibility of a funding gap, the Acting Assistant Secretary for Children and Families at HHS released a letter to state child care officials in September 2013, clarifying that unspent child care funds from prior years would remain available for expenditure in accordance with existing obligation and liquidation timeframes.

Notably, annual appropriations laws starting in FY2011 have also included changes to a CCDBG reservation for a national child care hotline.   The FY2011 appropriations law eliminated a CCDBG set-aside for the Child Care Aware toll-free hotline (typically funded at $1 million annually), a phone line staffed by child care consumer education specialists who respond to questions from parents and child care providers about elements of quality child care and how to locate child care programs in local communities.  However, the FY2012 law subsequently reserved roughly $1 million for a "competitive grant" (i.e., not an earmark directly to Child Care Aware) for the operation of a national toll-free hotline and website for the dissemination of child care consumer education and to help parents access child care in their communities.  The FY2013 and FY2014 appropriations laws continued to provide funding for this competitive grant.

Meanwhile, the authorization and pre-appropriations for mandatory child care funding established by the DRA expired at the end of FY2010.  Since then, mandatory funding for child care has been provided through a series of short-term extensions, the most recent of which (P.L. 113-76) maintained mandatory child care funding at the same level ($2.917 billion) through September 30, 2014.  (Note that mandatory child care funds are exempt from budget sequestration, and thus were not reduced in FY2013.)

This page was prepared on September 5, 2014, for the 2014 version of the House Ways and Means Committee Green Book.