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National Policy News:
President Bush Proposes Cuts to Child Care

On April 9, President George W. Bush released his proposed budget for 2002, which includes a federal tax cut of $1.6 trillion over ten years. While this proposal could seriously limit revenue currently used for social programs, including early education and care, it also presents an opportunity to expand the Child Tax Credit and the Dependent Care Tax Credit, and to make both tax credits refundable to further benefit low-income families.

In addition to the tax cut, President Bush proposed a budget plan increasing the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) by $200 million, earmarking $400 million for after-school vouchers, which would in effect cut funds for early education and care by $200 million. The President's budget proposal would also eliminate the $20 million allocated during the previous legislative session for the Early Learning Opportunities Act (see Facts in Action, February 2001).

As we go to press, both the House and the Senate have passed their budget resolutions. Amendments to the Senate budget offered by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-CT) restore some of the cuts to early education and care proposed by the President, including the cuts mentioned above. The House and the Senate will be in recess until April 23, when they will reconvene and attempt to reconcile their budget proposals. For more information about federal budget negotiations, contact the Children's Defense Fund at (202) 628-8787, by email at cdfinfo@childrensdefense.org, or on-line at www.childrensdefense.org.

Authorization - process by which Congress develops a spending blueprint for a given program, usually for a period of years (after which the program comes up for reauthorization)

In other federal news, Congress has begun the process of reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), with committee action expected in both the House and the Senate by mid-spring. Proposed changes to the ESEA include expanding literacy initiatives for early childhood programs. For more information on the ESEA reauthorization, contact the National Association for the Education of Young Children at (800) 424-2460 or on-line at www.naeyc.org.

Facts in Action, April 2001

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