CDF Update for June 20, 2000


In this issue:
--Update on the CHIP and Title XX budget cuts - your urgent action is needed!
--House passes FY2001 Labor, HHS, and Education Appropriations Bill.
--Free Child Care Challenge Books!
-- Washington Policy Seminar for Leaders in Early Care & Education.

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UPDATE ON THE CHIP AND TITLE XX BUDGET CUTS!

Senators Voinovich (R-OH) and Bayh (D-IN) are asking their Senate colleagues to sign onto a letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee objecting to the taking of $1.9 billion of fiscal year 1998 Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) funds by the Senate Appropriations Committee to help fund the fiscal year 2001 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations bill. Please call your Senators and ask them to sign on to the Voinovich/Bayh CHIP letter. The Labor, HHS, and Education appropriations bill may be on the Senate floor for consideration as early as this week. Please call your Senators today to ensure widespread Senate opposition to the taking of the CHIP funds.

As it now stands, the Senate committee action takes unspent funds available to states to provide health insurance to uninsured children and instead promises to restore those funds in fiscal year 2003.

The Children's Defense Fund is appreciative of the efforts of the Senate Appropriations Committee to increase funding for important programs in the Labor, HHS, and Education Appropriations bill. However, the taking of CHIP funds breaches the integrity of the CHIP program and the commitment it represents to the nation's uninsured children.

This taking of CHIP funds is troubling for several reasons. First, the taking of these funds will deprive some states of the funding needed soon to insure children through the program. Second, states have made decisions with regard to the number of children they expect to insure through the CHIP program based on the federal funding commitment in the 1997 CHIP legislation. The Senate Appropriations Committee action, if enacted, calls into question the commitment of Congress to this program. Third, states are rapidly increasing enrollment of uninsured children in CHIP but may become reluctant to continue aggressive outreach and enrollment if Congress starts playing budget shell games with the program funds.

We urge, in the strongest possible terms, that Congress restore the funds to the CHIP program that were removed by the Senate Appropriations Committee. We believe that Congress should refrain from looking to this program, designed to serve uninsured children, to alleviate the fiscal difficulties faced by the House and Senate Appropriators as they fund critical programs.

With regard to Title XX, the Social Services Block Grant, the FY2001 Labor, HHS, and Education Appropriations bill, as approved by the Appropriations Committee, would cut the program by $1.1 billion - about 66 percent. Legislation has been introduced by Senators Graham (D-FL), Jeffords (R-VT), Grassley (R-IA), and Rockefeller (D-WV) to restore the budget authority of Title XX to $2.3 (from $1.7 billion in FY2000). Title XX is important to families with children in every state. Urge your Senators to cosponsor S.2585 to show broad support for Title XX.

URGENT ACTION NEEDED:
It's easy to let your Senators know that you care about these issues! You can contact your Senators by calling the Capitol switch board at (202) 224-3121 or use our website to send email letters - www.childrensdefense.org/takeaction. Urge them:
--To restore the CHIP and TITLE XX money cut by the Senate Appropriations Committee.
--To sign on to the Voinovich/Bayh CHIP letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee in opposition to the CHIP cut and requesting that funding be restored.
--To cosponsor S.2585, the Title XX Restoration Act to help show strength for the program.

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HOUSE PASSES FY2001 LABOR, HHS, AND EDUCATION APPROPRIATIONS BILL! MEASURE DRAWS VETO THREAT.

On June 14, the House passed the FY2001 Labor, HHS and Education bill (H.R.4577)by a vote of 217-214. The Labor, HHS and Education Appropriations Bill includes funding for most major children's programs. While there were no draconian cuts in CHIP and TITLE XX like those included in similar legislation approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee, the measure fails to adequately invest in children's programs. In final passage of the bill, the House voted to insert language to cut back "advance funded" FY2002 child care money if the total advanced funding in the enacted bill exceeds this year's levels. Essentially, while there are more than a dozen "advance appropriated" programs - meaning that funding for 2002 for the programs is included in the FY2001 bill - child care was the only program singled out to be reduced dollar-for-dollar by the amount that the overall level of advance funding in the bill exceeds last year's level of advance funding in the bill. The result of this language is that it is possible that funding for child care in FY2001 could increase by up to $400 million (the amount proposed in the House bill) but in 2002, instead of funding child care at $2 billion as recommended by the House Appropriations Committee approved bill, it is likely that child care funding would be reduced to $1.4 or $1.5 billion and could be as low as $1.1 billion (it's current funding level). Given the enormous need for child care assistance throughout the country, it is wrong to single out the program for budget cuts.

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FREE CHILD CARE CHALLENGE BOOKS!

Although these books were initially released in May 1998, they are still great advocacy tools. They address child care challenges in your state including the cost, quality, and availability of child care. They also include a state specific one-pager, Child Care Facts at a Glance. The sources cited in the publication can provide current data for your state.

The reference books are 8 x 11 tape-bound and approximately 12 pages, depending upon the state. You can also download the information from our website: www.childrensdefense.org

To learn about additional and updated publications of CDF's Child Care and Development Division, please contact Delanee at 202-662-3544 or visit our website. To receive one copy of Child Care Challenges free of charge, please email your name, address, and phone number to Michael at: mkugelman@childrensdefense.org Please note: books are limited in number.

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Wheelock College Graduate School
Washington Policy Seminar for Leaders in Early Care & Education
July 16-21, 2000
Washington, DC

The Washington Policy Seminar, to be held July 16 - 21, focuses on introducing participants to policy-making at the federal level on topics related to children, families, child care, and education. Discussions also focus on how federal processes interface with state and local policy-making. The seminar includes field trips to Capitol Hill and meetings with representatives from the House and Senate. Participants will hear speakers from national organizations such as the National Association for the Education of Young Children, the National Black Child Development Institute, and the Children's Defense Fund and will learn how to become an effective and informed voice for children.

Leaders in human services, early childhood education, and Head Start personnel, as well as graduate students, researchers, and higher education faculty are encouraged to attend. For more information about tuition, graduate credits, housing, and transportation, please contact Joni Block, at 617-879-2157 or send an email to graduate@wheelock.edu .

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FOR QUESTIONS ABOUT FEDERAL LEGISLATION, PLEASE EMAIL CDFfieldteam@childrensdefense.org

-- OUR STRENGTH IS IN OUR NUMBERS --

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Amy Judge
Children's Defense Fund
25 E Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001
Fax: (202) 662-3550
http://www.childrensdefense.org

CDFfieldteam@childrensdefense.org






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