Amendment Text: S.Amdt.2822 — 113th Congress (2013-2014)

Shown Here:
Amendment as Proposed (03/12/2014)

This Amendment appears on page S1556 in the following article from the Congressional Record.



[Pages S1539-S1569]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




                          LEGISLATIVE SESSION

                                 ______
                                 

           CHILD CARE AND DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANT ACT OF 2014

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the Senate will 
resume legislative session and proceed to consideration of S. 1086, 
which the clerk will report.
  The bill clerk read as follows:

       A bill (S. 1086) to reauthorize and improve the Child Care 
     and Development Block Grant Act of 1990, and for other 
     purposes.

  The Senate proceeded to consider the bill which had been reported 
from the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, with an 
amendment to strike all after the enacting clause and insert in lieu 
thereof the following:

                                S. 1086

     SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

       This Act may be cited as the ``Child Care and Development 
     Block Grant Act of 2014''.

     SEC. 2. SHORT TITLE AND PURPOSES.

       Section 658A of the Child Care and Development Block Grant 
     Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 9801 note) is amended to read as 
     follows:

     ``SEC. 658A. SHORT TITLE AND PURPOSES.

       ``(a) Short Title.--This subchapter may be cited as the 
     `Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 1990'.
       ``(b) Purposes.--The purposes of this subchapter are--
       ``(1) to allow each State maximum flexibility in developing 
     child care programs and policies that best suit the needs of 
     children and parents within that State;
       ``(2) to promote parental choice to empower working parents 
     to make their own decisions regarding the child care that 
     best suits their family's needs;
       ``(3) to assist States in providing high-quality child care 
     services to parents trying to achieve independence from 
     public assistance;
       ``(4) to assist States in improving the overall quality of 
     child care services and programs by implementing the health, 
     safety, licensing, training, and oversight standards 
     established in this subchapter and in State law (including 
     regulations);
       ``(5) to improve school readiness by having children, 
     families, and child care providers engage in activities, in 
     child care settings, that are developmentally appropriate and 
     age-appropriate for the children and that promote children's 
     language and literacy and mathematics skills, social and 
     emotional development, physical health and development, and 
     approaches to learning;
       ``(6) to encourage States to provide consumer education 
     information to help parents make informed choices about child 
     care services and to promote involvement by parents and 
     family members in the education of their children in child 
     care settings;
       ``(7) to increase the number and percentage of low-income 
     children in high-quality child care settings; and
       ``(8) to improve the coordination and delivery of early 
     childhood education and care (including child care).''.

     SEC. 3. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.

       Section 658B of the Child Care and Development Block Grant 
     Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 9858) is amended by striking 
     ``subchapter'' and all that follows, and inserting 
     ``subchapter, such sums as may be necessary for each of 
     fiscal years 2015 through 2020.''.

     SEC. 4. LEAD AGENCY.

       (a) Designation.--Section 658D(a) of the Child Care and 
     Development Block Grant Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 9858b(a)) is 
     amended--
       (1) by striking ``chief executive officer'' and inserting 
     ``Governor''; and
       (2) by striking ``designate'' and all that follows and 
     inserting ``designate an agency (which may be an appropriate 
     collaborative agency), or establish a joint interagency 
     office, that complies with the requirements of subsection (b) 
     to serve as the lead agency for the State under this 
     subchapter.''.
       (b) Collaboration With Tribes.--Section 658D(b)(1) of the 
     Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 
     9858b(b)(1)) is amended--
       (1) in subparagraph (C), by striking ``and'' at the end;
       (2) in subparagraph (D), by striking the period and 
     inserting ``; and''; and
       (3) by adding at the end the following:
       ``(E) at the option of an Indian tribe or tribal 
     organization in the State, collaborate and coordinate with 
     such Indian tribe or tribal organization in the development 
     of the State plan.''.

     SEC. 5. APPLICATION AND PLAN.

       (a) Period.--Section 658E(b) of the Child Care and 
     Development Block Grant Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 9858c(b)) is 
     amended, by striking ``2-year'' and inserting ``3-year''.
       (b) Policies and Procedures.--Section 658E(c) of the Child 
     Care and Development Block Grant Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 
     9858c(c)) is amended--
       (1) in paragraph (1), by inserting ``or established'' after 
     ``designated'';
       (2) in paragraph (2)--
       (A) in subparagraph (B), by inserting a comma after ``care 
     of such providers'';
       (B) by striking subparagraphs (D) through (H); and
       (C) by adding at the end the following:
       ``(D) Monitoring and inspection reports.--The plan shall 
     include a certification that the State, not later than 1 year 
     after the State has in effect the policies and practices 
     described in subparagraph (K)(i), will make public by 
     electronic means, in a consumer-friendly and easily 
     accessible format, organized by provider, the results of 
     monitoring and inspection reports, including those due to 
     major substantiated complaints about failure to comply with 
     this subchapter and State child care policies, as well as the 
     number of deaths, serious injuries, and instances of 
     substantiated child abuse that occurred in child care 
     settings each year, for eligible child care providers within 
     the State. The results shall also include information on the 
     date of such an inspection and, where applicable, information 
     on corrective action taken.
       ``(E) Consumer education information.--The plan shall 
     include a certification that the State will collect and 
     disseminate (which dissemination may be done, except as 
     otherwise specified in this subparagraph, through resource 
     and referral organizations or other means as determined by 
     the State) to parents of eligible children and the general 
     public--
       ``(i) information that will promote informed child care 
     choices and that concerns--

       ``(I) the availability of child care services provided 
     through programs authorized under this subchapter and, if 
     feasible, other child care services and other programs 
     provided in the State for which the family may be eligible;
       ``(II) if available, information about the quality of 
     providers, including information from a Quality Rating and 
     Improvement System;
       ``(III) information, made available through a State 
     website, describing the State process for licensing child 
     care providers, the State processes for conducting background 
     checks, and monitoring and inspections, of child care 
     providers, and the offenses that prevent individuals and 
     entities from serving as child care providers in the State;
       ``(IV) the availability of assistance to obtain child care 
     services;
       ``(V) other programs for which families that receive child 
     care services for which financial assistance is provided in 
     accordance with this subchapter may be eligible, including 
     the program of block grants to States for temporary 
     assistance for needy families established under part A of 
     title IV of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 601 et seq.), 
     Head Start and Early Head Start programs carried out under 
     the Head Start Act (42 U.S.C. 9831 et seq.), the program 
     carried out under the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Act 
     of 1981 (42 U.S.C. 8621 et seq.), the supplemental nutrition 
     assistance program established under the Food and Nutrition 
     Act of 2008 (7 U.S.C. 2011 et seq.), the special supplemental 
     nutrition program for women, infants, and children 
     established under section 17 of the Child Nutrition Act of 
     1966 (42 U.S.C. 1786), the child and adult care food program 
     established under section 17 of the Richard B. Russell 
     National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1766), and the Medicaid 
     and State children's health insurance programs under titles 
     XIX and XXI of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1396 et 
     seq., 1397aa et seq.);
       ``(VI) programs carried out under section 619 and part C of 
     the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (20 U.S.C. 
     1419, 1431 et seq.); and
       ``(VII) research and best practices concerning children's 
     development, including language and cognitive development, 
     development of early language and literacy and mathematics 
     skills, social and emotional development, meaningful parent 
     and family engagement, and physical health and development 
     (particularly healthy eating and physical activity);

       ``(ii) information on developmental screenings, including--

       ``(I) information on existing (as of the date of submission 
     of the application containing the plan) resources and 
     services the State can deploy, including the coordinated use 
     of the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment 
     program under the Medicaid program carried out under title 
     XIX of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1396 et seq.) and 
     developmental screening services available under section 619 
     and part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act 
     (20 U.S.C. 1419, 1431 et seq.), in conducting developmental 
     screenings and providing referrals to services, when 
     appropriate, for children who receive assistance under this 
     subchapter; and
       ``(II) a description of how a family or eligible child care 
     provider may utilize the resources and services described in 
     subclause (I) to obtain developmental screenings for children 
     who receive assistance under this subchapter who may be at 
     risk for cognitive or other developmental delays, which may 
     include social, emotional, physical, or linguistic delays; 
     and

[[Page S1540]]

       ``(iii) information, for parents receiving assistance under 
     the program of block grants to States for temporary 
     assistance for needy families under part A of title IV of the 
     Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) and low-income 
     parents, about eligibility for assistance provided in 
     accordance with this subchapter.
       ``(F) Compliance with state licensing requirements.--
       ``(i) In general.--The plan shall include a certification 
     that the State involved has in effect licensing requirements 
     applicable to child care services provided within the State, 
     and provide a detailed description of such requirements and 
     of how such requirements are effectively enforced.
       ``(ii) License exemption.--If the State uses funding 
     received under this subchapter to support a child care 
     provider that is exempt from the corresponding licensing 
     requirements described in clause (i), the plan shall include 
     a description stating why such licensing exemption does not 
     endanger the health, safety, or development of children who 
     receive services from child care providers who are exempt 
     from such requirements.
       ``(iii) Requests for relief.--As described in section 
     658I(d), a State may request relief from a provision of 
     Federal law other than this subchapter that might conflict 
     with a requirement of this subchapter, including a licensing 
     requirement.
       ``(G) Training requirements.--
       ``(i) In general.--The plan shall describe the training 
     requirements that are in effect within the State that are 
     designed to enable child care providers to promote the 
     social, emotional, physical, and cognitive development of 
     children and that are applicable to child care providers that 
     provide services for which assistance is provided in 
     accordance with this subchapter in the State.
       ``(ii) Requirements.--The plan shall provide an assurance 
     that such training requirements--

       ``(I) provide a set of workforce and competency standards 
     for child care providers that provide services described in 
     clause (i);
       ``(II) are developed in consultation with the State 
     Advisory Council on Early Childhood Education and Care 
     (designated or established pursuant to section 
     642B(b)(1)(A)(i) of the Head Start Act (42 U.S.C. 
     9837b(b)(1)(A)(i)));
       ``(III) include an evidence-based training framework that 
     is designed to promote children's learning and development 
     and school readiness and to improve child outcomes, including 
     school readiness;
       ``(IV) incorporate knowledge and application of the State's 
     early learning and developmental guidelines (where 
     applicable), and the State's child development and health 
     standards; and
       ``(V) to the extent practicable, are appropriate for a 
     population of children that includes--

       ``(aa) different age groups (such as infants, toddlers, and 
     preschoolers);
       ``(bb) English learners;
       ``(cc) children with disabilities; and
       ``(dd) Native Americans, including Indians, as the term is 
     defined in section 4 of the Indian Self-Determination and 
     Education Assistance Act (25 U.S.C. 450b) (including Alaska 
     Natives within the meaning of that term), and Native 
     Hawaiians (as defined in section 7207 of the Elementary and 
     Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 7517)).
       ``(iii) Progression of professional development.--In 
     developing the requirements, the State shall develop a 
     statewide progression of professional development designed to 
     improve the skills and knowledge of the workforce--

       ``(I) which may include the acquisition of course credit in 
     postsecondary education or of a credential, aligned with the 
     framework; and
       ``(II) which shall be accessible to providers supported 
     through Indian tribes or tribal organizations that receive 
     assistance under this subchapter.

       ``(iv) Alignment.--The State shall engage the State 
     Advisory Council on Early Childhood Education and Care, and 
     may engage institutions of higher education (as defined in 
     section 102 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 
     1002)), and other training providers in aligning training 
     opportunities with the State's training framework.
       ``(v) Credentials.--The Secretary shall not require an 
     individual or entity that provides child care services for 
     which assistance is provided in accordance with this 
     subchapter to acquire a credential to provide such services. 
     Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit a 
     State from requiring a credential.
       ``(H) Child-to-provider ratio standards.--
       ``(i) Standards.--The plan shall describe child care 
     standards, for child care for which assistance is made 
     available in accordance with this subchapter, appropriate to 
     the type of child care setting involved, that address--

       ``(I) group size limits for specific age populations;
       ``(II) the appropriate ratio between the number of children 
     and the number of providers, in terms of the age of the 
     children in child care, as determined by the State; and
       ``(III) required qualifications for such providers.

       ``(ii) Construction.--The Secretary may offer guidance to 
     States on child-to-provider ratios described in clause (i) 
     according to setting and age group but shall not require that 
     States maintain specific child-to-provider ratios for 
     providers who receive assistance under this subchapter.
       ``(I) Health and safety requirements.--The plan shall 
     include a certification that there are in effect within the 
     State, under State or local law, requirements designed to 
     protect the health and safety of children that are applicable 
     to child care providers that provide services for which 
     assistance is made available in accordance with this 
     subchapter. Such requirements--
       ``(i) shall relate to matters including health and safety 
     topics (including prevention of shaken baby syndrome and 
     abusive head trauma) consisting of--

       ``(I) the prevention and control of infectious diseases 
     (including immunization) and the establishment of a grace 
     period that allows homeless children to receive services 
     under this subchapter while their families are taking any 
     necessary action to comply with immunization and other health 
     and safety requirements;
       ``(II) handwashing and universal health precautions;
       ``(III) the administration of medication, consistent with 
     standards for parental consent;
       ``(IV) the prevention of and response to emergencies due to 
     food and other allergic reactions;
       ``(V) prevention of sudden infant death syndrome and use of 
     safe sleeping practices;
       ``(VI) sanitary methods of food handling;
       ``(VII) building and physical premises safety;
       ``(VIII) emergency preparedness and response planning for 
     emergencies resulting from a natural disaster, or a man-
     caused event (such as violence at a child care facility), 
     within the meaning of those terms under section 602(a)(1) of 
     the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency 
     Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 5195a(a)(1));
       ``(IX) the handling and storage of hazardous materials and 
     the appropriate disposal of biocontaminants;
       ``(X) identification of and protection from hazards that 
     can cause bodily injury such as electrical hazards, bodies of 
     water, and vehicular traffic;
       ``(XI) for providers that offer transportation, if 
     applicable, appropriate precautions in transporting children;
       ``(XII) first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation; and
       ``(XIII) minimum health and safety training, to be 
     completed pre-service or during an orientation period, 
     appropriate to the provider setting involved that addresses 
     each of the requirements relating to matters described in 
     subclauses (I) through (XII); and

       ``(ii) may include requirements relating to nutrition, 
     access to physical activity, or any other subject area 
     determined by the State to be necessary to promote child 
     development or to protect children's health and safety.
       ``(J) Compliance with state and local health and safety 
     requirements.--The plan shall include a certification that 
     procedures are in effect to ensure that child care providers 
     within the State, that provide services for which assistance 
     is made available in accordance with this subchapter, comply 
     with all applicable State and local health and safety 
     requirements as described in subparagraph (I).
       ``(K) Enforcement of licensing and other regulatory 
     requirements.--
       ``(i) Certification.--The plan shall include a 
     certification that the State, not later than 2 years after 
     the date of enactment of the Child Care and Development Block 
     Grant Act of 2014, shall have in effect policies and 
     practices, applicable to licensing or regulating child care 
     providers that provide services for which assistance is made 
     available in accordance with this subchapter and the 
     facilities of those providers, that--

       ``(I) ensure that individuals who are hired as licensing 
     inspectors in the State are qualified to inspect those child 
     care providers and facilities and have received training in 
     related health and safety requirements, child development, 
     child abuse prevention and detection, program management, and 
     relevant law enforcement;
       ``(II) require licensing inspectors (or qualified 
     inspectors designated by the lead agency) of those child care 
     providers and facilities to perform inspections, with--

       ``(aa) not less than 1 prelicensure inspection for 
     compliance with health, safety, and fire standards, of each 
     such child care provider and facility in the State; and
       ``(bb) not less than annually, an inspection (which shall 
     be unannounced) of each such child care provider and facility 
     in the State for compliance with all child care licensing 
     standards, which shall include an inspection for compliance 
     with health, safety, and fire standards (although inspectors 
     may or may not inspect for compliance with all 3 standards at 
     the same time); and

       ``(III) require the ratio of licensing inspectors to such 
     child care providers and facilities in the State to--

       ``(aa) be maintained at a level sufficient to enable the 
     State to conduct inspections of such child care providers and 
     facilities on a timely basis in accordance with Federal and 
     State law; and
       ``(bb) be consistent with research findings and best 
     practices.
       ``(ii) Construction.--The Secretary may offer guidance to a 
     State, if requested by the State, on a research-based minimum 
     standard regarding ratios described in clause (i)(III) and 
     provide technical assistance to the State on meeting the 
     minimum standard within a reasonable time period, but shall 
     not prescribe a particular ratio.
       ``(L) Compliance with child abuse reporting requirements.--
     The plan shall include a certification that child care 
     providers within the State will comply with the child abuse 
     reporting requirements of section 106(b)(2)(B)(i) of the 
     Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (42 U.S.C. 
     5106a(b)(2)(B)(i)).
       ``(M) Meeting the needs of certain populations.--The plan 
     shall describe how the State will develop and implement 
     strategies (which may include the provision of compensation 
     at higher payment rates and bonuses to child care providers, 
     the provision of direct contracts or grants to community-
     based organizations, or other means determined by the State) 
     to increase the supply and improve the quality of child care 
     for--
       ``(i) children in underserved areas;
       ``(ii) infants and toddlers;
       ``(iii) children with disabilities, as defined by the 
     State; and

[[Page S1541]]

       ``(iv) children who receive care during nontraditional 
     hours.
       ``(N) Protection for working parents.--
       ``(i) Minimum period.--

       ``(I) 12-month period.--The plan shall demonstrate that 
     each child who receives assistance under this subchapter in 
     the State will be considered to meet all eligibility 
     requirements for such assistance and will receive such 
     assistance, for not less than 12 months before the State 
     redetermines the eligibility of the child under this 
     subchapter, regardless of a temporary change in the ongoing 
     status of the child's parent as working or attending a job 
     training or educational program or a change in family income 
     for the child's family, if that family income does not exceed 
     85 percent of the State median income for a family of the 
     same size.
       ``(II) Fluctuations in earnings.--The plan shall 
     demonstrate how the State's processes for initial 
     determination and redetermination of such eligibility take 
     into account irregular fluctuations in earnings.

       ``(ii) Redetermination process.--The plan shall describe 
     the procedures and policies that are in place to ensure that 
     working parents (especially parents in families receiving 
     assistance under the program of block grants to States for 
     temporary assistance for needy families under part A of title 
     IV of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 601 et seq.)) are 
     not required to unduly disrupt their employment in order to 
     comply with the State's requirements for redetermination of 
     eligibility for assistance provided in accordance with this 
     subchapter.
       ``(iii) Period before termination.--At the option of the 
     State, the plan shall demonstrate that the State will not 
     terminate assistance provided to carry out this subchapter 
     based on a factor consisting of a parent's loss of work or 
     cessation of attendance at a job training or educational 
     program for which the family was receiving the assistance, 
     without continuing the assistance for a reasonable period of 
     time, of not less than 3 months, after such loss or cessation 
     in order for the parent to engage in a job search and resume 
     work, or resume attendance at a job training or educational 
     program, as soon as possible.
       ``(iv) Graduated phaseout of care.--The plan shall describe 
     the policies and procedures that are in place to allow for 
     provision of continued assistance to carry out this 
     subchapter, at the beginning of a new eligibility period 
     under clause (i)(I), for children of parents who are working 
     or attending a job training or educational program and whose 
     family income exceeds the State's income limit to initially 
     qualify for such assistance, if the family income for the 
     family involved does not exceed 85 percent of the State 
     median income for a family of the same size.
       ``(O) Coordination with other programs.--
       ``(i) In general.--The plan shall describe how the State, 
     in order to expand accessibility and continuity of quality 
     early childhood education and care, and assist children 
     enrolled in prekindergarten, Early Head Start, or Head Start 
     programs to receive full-day services, will coordinate the 
     services supported to carry out this subchapter with--

       ``(I) programs carried out under the Head Start Act (42 
     U.S.C. 9831 et seq.), including the Early Head Start programs 
     carried out under section 645A of that Act (42 U.S.C. 9840a);
       ``(II) programs carried out under part A of title I, and 
     part B of title IV, of the Elementary and Secondary Education 
     Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 6311 et seq., 7171 et seq.);
       ``(III) programs carried out under section 619 and part C 
     of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (20 U.S.C. 
     1419, 1431 et seq.);
       ``(IV) the maternal, infant, and early childhood home 
     visiting programs authorized under section 511 of the Social 
     Security Act (42 U.S.C. 711), as added by section 2951 of the 
     Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Public Law 111-
     148);
       ``(V) State, Indian tribe or tribal organization, and 
     locally funded early childhood education and care programs;
       ``(VI) programs serving homeless children and services of 
     local educational agency liaisons for homeless children and 
     youths designated under subsection (g)(1)(J)(ii) of section 
     722 of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 
     11432(g)(1)(J)(ii)); and
       ``(VII) other Federal programs supporting early childhood 
     education and care activities, and, where applicable, child 
     care programs funded through State veterans affairs offices.

       ``(ii) Rule of construction.--Nothing in clause (i) shall 
     be construed to affect the priority of children described in 
     clause (i) to receive full-day prekindergarten or Head Start 
     program services.
       ``(P) Public-private partnerships.--The plan shall 
     demonstrate how the State encourages partnerships among State 
     agencies, other public agencies, Indian tribes and tribal 
     organizations, and private entities to leverage existing 
     service delivery systems (as of the date of the submission of 
     the application containing the plan) for early childhood 
     education and care and to increase the supply and quality of 
     child care services for children who are less than 13 years 
     of age, such as by implementing voluntary shared services 
     alliance models.
       ``(Q) Priority for low-income populations.--The plan shall 
     describe the process the State proposes to use, with respect 
     to investments made to increase access to programs providing 
     high-quality early childhood education and care, to give 
     priority for those investments to children of families in 
     areas that have significant concentrations of poverty and 
     unemployment and that do not have such programs.
       ``(R) Consultation.--The plan shall include a certification 
     that the State has developed the plan in consultation with 
     the State Advisory Council on Early Childhood Education and 
     Care designated or established pursuant to section 
     642B(b)(1)(A)(i) of the Head Start Act (42 U.S.C. 
     9837b(b)(1)(A)(i)).
       ``(S) Payment practices.--The plan shall include a 
     certification that the payment practices of child care 
     providers in the State that serve children who receive 
     assistance under this subchapter reflect generally accepted 
     payment practices of child care providers in the State that 
     serve children who do not receive assistance under this 
     subchapter, so as to provide stability of funding and 
     encourage more child care providers to serve children who 
     receive assistance under this subchapter.
       ``(T) Early learning and developmental guidelines.--
       ``(i) In general.--The plan shall include an assurance that 
     the State will develop or implement early learning and 
     developmental guidelines that are appropriate for children 
     from birth through entry into kindergarten, describing what 
     such children should know and be able to do, and covering the 
     essential domains of early childhood education and care and 
     early childhood development for use statewide by child care 
     providers. Such child care providers shall--

       ``(I) be licensed or regulated under State law; and
       ``(II) not be a relative of all children for whom the 
     provider provides child care services.

       ``(ii) Alignment.--The guidelines shall be research-based, 
     developmentally appropriate, and aligned with State standards 
     for education in kindergarten through grade 3.
       ``(iii) Prohibition on use of funds.--The plan shall 
     include an assurance that funds received by the State to 
     carry out this subchapter will not be used to develop or 
     implement an assessment for children that--

       ``(I) will be the sole basis for a child care provider 
     being determined to be ineligible to participate in the 
     program carried out under this subchapter;
       ``(II) will be used as the primary or sole basis to provide 
     a reward or sanction for an individual provider;
       ``(III) will be used as the primary or sole method for 
     assessing program effectiveness; or
       ``(IV) will be used to deny eligibility to participate in 
     the program carried out under this subchapter.

       ``(iv) Exceptions.--Nothing in this subchapter shall 
     preclude the State from using a single assessment (if 
     appropriate) for children for--

       ``(I) supporting learning or improving a classroom 
     environment;
       ``(II) targeting professional development to a provider;
       ``(III) determining the need for health, mental health, 
     disability, developmental delay, or family support services;
       ``(IV) obtaining information for the quality improvement 
     process at the State level; or
       ``(V) conducting a program evaluation for the purposes of 
     providing program improvement and parent information.

       ``(v) No federal control.--Nothing in this section shall be 
     construed to authorize an officer or employee of the Federal 
     Government to--

       ``(I) mandate, direct, or control a State's early learning 
     and developmental guidelines, developed in accordance with 
     this section;
       ``(II) establish any criterion that specifies, defines, or 
     prescribes the standards or measures that a State uses to 
     establish, implement, or improve--

       ``(aa) early learning and developmental guidelines, or 
     early learning standards, assessments, or accountability 
     systems; or
       ``(bb) alignment of early learning and developmental 
     guidelines with State standards for education in kindergarten 
     through grade 3; or

       ``(III) require a State to submit such standards or 
     measures for review.'';

       (3) in paragraph (3)--
       (A) in subparagraph (A), by striking ``as required under'' 
     and inserting ``in accordance with'';
       (B) in subparagraph (B)--
       (i) by striking ``The State'' and inserting the following:
       ``(i) In general.--The State'';
       (ii) by striking ``and any other activity that the State 
     deems appropriate to realize any of the goals specified in 
     paragraphs (2) through (5) of section 658A(b)'' and inserting 
     ``activities that improve access to child care services, 
     including use of procedures to permit immediate enrollment 
     (after the initial eligibility determination and after a 
     child is determined to be eligible) of homeless children 
     while required documentation is obtained, training and 
     technical assistance on identifying and serving homeless 
     children and their families, and specific outreach to 
     homeless families, and any other activity that the State 
     determines to be appropriate to meet the purposes of this 
     subchapter (which may include an activity described in clause 
     (ii))''; and
       (iii) by adding at the end the following:
       ``(ii) Child care resource and referral system.--

       ``(I) In general.--A State may use amounts described in 
     clause (i) to establish or support a system of local or 
     regional child care resource and referral organizations that 
     is coordinated, to the extent determined appropriate by the 
     State, by a statewide public or private nonprofit, community-
     based or regionally based, lead child care resource and 
     referral organization.
       ``(II) Local or regional organizations.--The local or 
     regional child care resource and referral organizations 
     supported as described in subclause (I) shall--

       ``(aa) provide parents in the State with consumer education 
     information referred to in paragraph (2)(E) (except as 
     otherwise provided in that paragraph), concerning the full 
     range of child care options, analyzed by provider, including 
     child care provided during nontraditional

[[Page S1542]]

     hours and through emergency child care centers, in their 
     political subdivisions or regions;
       ``(bb) to the extent practicable, work directly with 
     families who receive assistance under this subchapter to 
     offer the families support and assistance, using information 
     described in item (aa), to make an informed decision about 
     which child care providers they will use, in an effort to 
     ensure that the families are enrolling their children in 
     high-quality care;
       ``(cc) collect and analyze data on the coordination of 
     services and supports, including services under section 619 
     and part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act 
     (20 U.S.C. 1419, 1431 et seq.), for children with 
     disabilities (as defined in section 602 of such Act (20 
     U.S.C. 1401));
       ``(dd) collect and analyze data on the supply of and demand 
     for child care in political subdivisions or regions within 
     the State and submit such data and analysis to the State;
       ``(ee) work to establish partnerships with public agencies 
     and private entities to increase the supply and quality of 
     child care services in the State; and
       ``(ff) as appropriate, coordinate their activities with the 
     activities of the State lead agency and local agencies that 
     administer funds made available in accordance with this 
     subchapter.'';
       (C) in subparagraph (D)--
       (i) by striking ``1997 through 2002'' and inserting ``2015 
     through 2020''; and
       (ii) by striking ``families described in paragraph (2)(H)'' 
     and inserting ``families with children described in clause 
     (i), (ii), (iii), or (iv) of paragraph (2)(M)''; and
       (D) by adding at the end the following:
       ``(E) Direct services.--From amounts provided to a State 
     for a fiscal year to carry out this subchapter, the State 
     shall--
       ``(i) reserve the minimum amount required to be reserved 
     under section 658G, and the funds for costs described in 
     subparagraph (C); and
       ``(ii) from the remainder, use not less than 70 percent to 
     fund direct services (provided by the State) in accordance 
     with paragraph (2)(A).'';
       (4) by striking paragraph (4) and inserting the following:
       ``(4) Payment rates.--
       ``(A) In general.--The State plan shall certify that 
     payment rates for the provision of child care services for 
     which assistance is provided in accordance with this 
     subchapter are sufficient to ensure equal access for eligible 
     children to child care services that are comparable to child 
     care services in the State or substate area involved that are 
     provided to children whose parents are not eligible to 
     receive assistance under this subchapter or to receive child 
     care assistance under any other Federal or State program and 
     shall provide a summary of the facts relied on by the State 
     to determine that such rates are sufficient to ensure such 
     access.
       ``(B) Survey.--The State plan shall--
       ``(i) demonstrate that the State has, after consulting with 
     the State Advisory Council on Early Childhood Education and 
     Care designated or established in section 642B(b)(1)(A)(i) of 
     the Head Start Act (42 U.S.C. 9837b(b)(1)(A)(i)), local child 
     care program administrators, local child care resource and 
     referral agencies, and other appropriate entities, developed 
     and conducted (not earlier than 2 years before the date of 
     the submission of the application containing the State plan) 
     a statistically valid and reliable survey of the market rates 
     for child care services in the State (that reflects 
     variations in the cost of child care services by geographic 
     area, type of provider, and age of child);
       ``(ii) demonstrate that the State prepared a detailed 
     report containing the results of the State market rates 
     survey conducted pursuant to clause (i), and made the results 
     of the survey widely available (not later than 30 days after 
     the completion of such survey) through periodic means, 
     including posting the results on the Internet;
       ``(iii) describe how the State will set payment rates for 
     child care services, for which assistance is provided in 
     accordance with this subchapter--

       ``(I) in accordance with the results of the market rates 
     survey conducted pursuant to clause (i);
       ``(II) taking into consideration the cost of providing 
     higher quality child care services than were provided under 
     this subchapter before the date of enactment of the Child 
     Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014; and
       ``(III) without, to the extent practicable, reducing the 
     number of families in the State receiving such assistance to 
     carry out this subchapter, relative to the number of such 
     families on the date of enactment of that Act; and

       ``(iv) describe how the State will provide for timely 
     payment for child care services provided in accordance with 
     this subchapter.
       ``(C) Construction.--
       ``(i) No private right of action.--Nothing in this 
     paragraph shall be construed to create a private right of 
     action.
       ``(ii) No prohibition of certain different rates.--Nothing 
     in this subchapter shall be construed to prevent a State from 
     differentiating the payment rates described in subparagraph 
     (B)(iii) on the basis of such factors as--

       ``(I) geographic location of child care providers (such as 
     location in an urban or rural area);
       ``(II) the age or particular needs of children (such as the 
     needs of children with disabilities and children served by 
     child protective services);
       ``(III) whether the providers provide child care during 
     weekend and other nontraditional hours; or
       ``(IV) the State's determination that such differentiated 
     payment rates are needed to enable a parent to choose child 
     care that is of high quality.''; and

       (5) in paragraph (5), by inserting ``(that is not a barrier 
     to families receiving assistance under this subchapter)'' 
     after ``cost sharing''.
       (c) Technical Amendment.--Section 658F(b)(2) of the Child 
     Care and Development Block Grant Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 
     9858d(b)(2)) is amended by striking ``section 658E(c)(2)(F)'' 
     and inserting ``section 658E(c)(2)(I)''.

     SEC. 6. ACTIVITIES TO IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF CHILD CARE.

       Section 658G of the Child Care and Development Block Grant 
     Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 9858e) is amended to read as follows:

     ``SEC. 658G. ACTIVITIES TO IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF CHILD CARE.

       ``(a) Reservation.--
       ``(1) Reservation for activities relating to the quality of 
     child care services.--A State that receives funds to carry 
     out this subchapter for a fiscal year referred to in 
     paragraph (2) shall reserve and use a portion of such funds, 
     in accordance with paragraph (2), for activities provided 
     directly, or through grants or contracts with local child 
     care resource and referral organizations or other appropriate 
     entities, that are designed to improve the quality of child 
     care services and increase parental options for, and access 
     to, high-quality child care, provided in accordance with this 
     subchapter.
       ``(2) Amount of reservations.--Such State shall reserve and 
     use--
       ``(A) to carry out the activities described in paragraph 
     (1), not less than--
       ``(i) 6 percent of the funds described in paragraph (1), 
     for the first and second full fiscal years after the date of 
     enactment of the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act 
     of 2014;
       ``(ii) 8 percent of such funds, for the third and fourth 
     full fiscal years after the date of enactment; and
       ``(iii) 10 percent of such funds, for the fifth full fiscal 
     year after the date of enactment and each succeeding fiscal 
     year; and
       ``(B) in addition to the funds reserved under subparagraph 
     (A), 3 percent of the funds described in paragraph (1), for 
     the first full fiscal year after the date of enactment and 
     each succeeding fiscal year, to carry out the activities 
     described in paragraph (1) and subsection (b)(4), as such 
     activities relate to the quality of care for infants and 
     toddlers.
       ``(b) Activities.--Funds reserved under subsection (a) 
     shall be used to carry out not fewer than 2 of the following 
     activities:
       ``(1) Supporting the training, professional development, 
     and professional advancement of the child care workforce 
     through activities such as--
       ``(A) offering child care providers training and 
     professional development that is intentional and sequential 
     and leads to a higher level of skill or certification;
       ``(B) establishing or supporting programs designed to 
     increase the retention and improve the competencies of child 
     care providers, including wage incentive programs and 
     initiatives that establish tiered payment rates for providers 
     that meet or exceed child care services guidelines, as 
     defined by the State;
       ``(C) offering training, professional development, and 
     educational opportunities for child care providers that 
     relate to the use of developmentally appropriate and age-
     appropriate curricula, and early childhood teaching 
     strategies, that are scientifically based and aligned with 
     the social, emotional, physical, and cognitive development of 
     children, including offering specialized training for child 
     care providers who care for infants and toddlers, children 
     who are English learners, and children with disabilities (as 
     defined in section 602 of the Individuals with Disabilities 
     Education Act (20 U.S.C. 1401));
       ``(D) providing training concerning the State early 
     learning and developmental guidelines, where applicable, 
     including training concerning early mathematics and early 
     language and literacy development and effective instructional 
     practices to support mathematics and language and literacy 
     development in young children;
       ``(E) incorporating effective use of data to guide 
     instruction and program improvement;
       ``(F) including effective behavior management strategies 
     and training, including positive behavioral interventions and 
     supports, that promote positive social and emotional 
     development and reduce challenge behaviors;
       ``(G) at the option of the State, incorporating feedback 
     from experts at the State's institutions of higher education, 
     as defined in section 102 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 
     (20 U.S.C. 1002), and other early childhood development 
     experts and early childhood education and care experts;
       ``(H) providing training corresponding to the nutritional 
     and physical activity needs of children to promote healthy 
     development;
       ``(I) providing training or professional development for 
     child care providers to serve and support children with 
     disabilities;
       ``(J) providing training and outreach on engaging parents 
     and families in culturally and linguistically appropriate 
     ways to expand their knowledge, skills, and capacity to 
     become meaningful partners in supporting their children's 
     learning and development; and
       ``(K) providing training or professional development for 
     child care providers regarding the early neurological 
     development of children.
       ``(2) Supporting the use of the early learning and 
     developmental guidelines described in section 658E(c)(2)(T) 
     by--
       ``(A) developing and implementing the State's early 
     learning and developmental guidelines; and
       ``(B) providing technical assistance to enhance early 
     learning for preschool and school-aged children in order to 
     promote language and literacy skills, foster school 
     readiness, and support later school success.
       ``(3) Developing and implementing a tiered quality rating 
     system for child care providers, which shall--
       ``(A) support and assess the quality of child care 
     providers in the State;
       ``(B) build on licensing standards and other State 
     regulatory standards for such providers;

[[Page S1543]]

       ``(C) be designed to improve the quality of different types 
     of child care providers;
       ``(D) describe the quality of early learning facilities;
       ``(E) build the capacity of State early childhood education 
     and care programs and communities to promote parents' and 
     families' understanding of the State's early childhood 
     education and care system and the ratings of the programs in 
     which the child is enrolled; and
       ``(F) provide, to the maximum extent practicable, financial 
     incentives and other supports designed to help child care 
     providers achieve and sustain higher levels of quality.
       ``(4) Improving the supply and quality of child care 
     programs and services for infants and toddlers through 
     activities, which may include--
       ``(A) establishing or expanding neighborhood-based high-
     quality comprehensive family and child development centers, 
     which may serve as resources to child care providers in order 
     to improve the quality of early childhood education and care 
     and early childhood development services provided to infants 
     and toddlers from low-income families and to help eligible 
     child care providers improve their capacity to offer high-
     quality care to infants and toddlers from low-income 
     families;
       ``(B) establishing or expanding the operation of community 
     or neighborhood-based family child care networks;
       ``(C) supporting statewide networks of infant and toddler 
     child care specialists, including specialists who have 
     knowledge regarding infant and toddler development and 
     curriculum and program implementation as well as the ability 
     to coordinate services with early intervention specialists 
     who provide services for infants and toddlers with 
     disabilities under part C of the Individuals with 
     Disabilities Education Act (20 U.S.C. 1431 et seq.);
       ``(D) carrying out initiatives to improve the quality of 
     the infant and toddler child care workforce, such as 
     providing relevant training, professional development, or 
     mentoring opportunities and linking such opportunities to 
     career pathways, developing career pathways for providers in 
     such workforce, and improving the State credentialing of 
     eligible providers caring for infants and toddlers;
       ``(E) if applicable, developing infant and toddler 
     components within the State's quality rating system described 
     in paragraph (3) for child care providers for infants and 
     toddlers, or the development of infant and toddler components 
     in a State's child care licensing regulations or early 
     learning and developmental guidelines;
       ``(F) improving the ability of parents to access 
     information about high-quality infant and toddler care; and
       ``(G) carrying out other activities determined by the State 
     to improve the quality of infant and toddler care provided in 
     the State, and for which there is evidence that the 
     activities will lead to improved infant and toddler health 
     and safety, infant and toddler development, or infant and 
     toddler well-being, including providing training (including 
     training in safe sleep practices, first aid, and 
     cardiopulmonary resuscitation).
       ``(5) Promoting broad child care provider participation in 
     the quality rating system described in paragraph (3).
       ``(6) Establishing or expanding a statewide system of child 
     care resource and referral services.
       ``(7) Facilitating compliance with State requirements for 
     inspection, monitoring, training, and health and safety, and 
     with State licensing standards.
       ``(8) Evaluating and assessing the quality and 
     effectiveness of child care programs and services offered in 
     the State, including evaluating how such programs and 
     services may improve the overall school readiness of young 
     children.
       ``(9) Supporting child care providers in the pursuit of 
     accreditation by an established national accrediting body 
     with demonstrated, valid, and reliable program standards of 
     high quality.
       ``(10) Supporting State or local efforts to develop or 
     adopt high-quality program standards relating to health, 
     mental health, nutrition, physical activity, and physical 
     development and providing resources to enable eligible child 
     care providers to meet, exceed, or sustain success in meeting 
     or exceeding, such standards.
       ``(11) Carrying out other activities determined by the 
     State to improve the quality of child care services provided 
     in the State, and for which measurement of outcomes relating 
     to improved provider preparedness, child safety, child well-
     being, or school readiness is possible.
       ``(c) Certification.--Beginning with fiscal year 2015, at 
     the beginning of each fiscal year, the State shall annually 
     submit to the Secretary a certification containing an 
     assurance that the State was in compliance with subsection 
     (a) during the preceding fiscal year and a description of how 
     the State used funds received under this subchapter to comply 
     with subsection (a) during that preceding fiscal year.
       ``(d) Reporting Requirements.--Each State receiving funds 
     under this subchapter shall prepare and submit an annual 
     report to the Secretary, which shall include information 
     about--
       ``(1) the amount of funds that are reserved under 
     subsection (a);
       ``(2) the activities carried out under this section; and
       ``(3) the measures that the State will use to evaluate the 
     State's progress in improving the quality of child care 
     programs and services in the State.
       ``(e) Technical Assistance.--The Secretary shall offer 
     technical assistance, in accordance with section 658I(a)(3), 
     which may include technical assistance through the use of 
     grants or cooperative agreements, to States for the 
     activities described in subsection (b).
       ``(f) Construction.--Nothing in this section shall be 
     construed as providing the Secretary the authority to 
     regulate, direct, or dictate State child care quality 
     activities or progress in implementing those activities.''.

     SEC. 7. CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECKS.

       The Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 1990 (42 
     U.S.C. 9858 et seq.) is amended by inserting after section 
     658G the following:

     ``SEC. 658H. CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECKS.

       ``(a) In General.--A State that receives funds to carry out 
     this subchapter shall have in effect--
       ``(1) requirements, policies, and procedures to require and 
     conduct criminal background checks for child care staff 
     members (including prospective child care staff members) of 
     child care providers described in subsection (c)(1); and
       ``(2) licensing, regulation, and registration requirements, 
     as applicable, that prohibit the employment of child care 
     staff members as described in subsection (c).
       ``(b) Requirements.--A criminal background check for a 
     child care staff member under subsection (a) shall include--
       ``(1) a search of each State criminal and sex offender 
     registry or repository in the State where the child care 
     staff member resides and each State where such staff member 
     resided during the preceding 10 years;
       ``(2) a search of State-based child abuse and neglect 
     registries and databases in the State where the child care 
     staff member resides and each State where such staff member 
     resided during the preceding 10 years;
       ``(3) a search of the National Crime Information Center;
       ``(4) a Federal Bureau of Investigation fingerprint check 
     using the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification 
     System; and
       ``(5) a search of the National Sex Offender Registry 
     established under the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety 
     Act of 2006 (42 U.S.C. 16901 et seq.).
       ``(c) Prohibitions.--
       ``(1) Child care staff members.--A child care staff member 
     shall be ineligible for employment by a child care provider 
     that is licensed, regulated, or registered by the State or 
     for which assistance is provided in accordance with this 
     subchapter, if such individual--
       ``(A) refuses to consent to the criminal background check 
     described in subsection (b);
       ``(B) knowingly makes a materially false statement in 
     connection with such criminal background check;
       ``(C) is registered, or is required to be registered, on a 
     State sex offender registry or repository or the National Sex 
     Offender Registry established under the Adam Walsh Child 
     Protection and Safety Act of 2006 (42 U.S.C. 16901 et seq.); 
     or
       ``(D) has been convicted of a felony consisting of--
       ``(i) murder, as described in section 1111 of title 18, 
     United States Code;
       ``(ii) child abuse or neglect;
       ``(iii) a crime against children, including child 
     pornography;
       ``(iv) spousal abuse;
       ``(v) a crime involving rape or sexual assault;
       ``(vi) kidnaping;
       ``(vii) arson;
       ``(viii) physical assault or battery; or
       ``(ix) subject to subsection (e)(4), a drug-related offense 
     committed during the preceding 5 years.
       ``(2) Child care providers.--A child care provider 
     described in paragraph (1) shall be ineligible for assistance 
     provided in accordance with this subchapter if the provider 
     employs a staff member who is ineligible for employment under 
     paragraph (1).
       ``(d) Submission of Requests for Background Checks.--
       ``(1) In general.--A child care provider covered by 
     subsection (c) shall submit a request, to the appropriate 
     State agency designated by a State, for a criminal background 
     check described in subsection (b), for each child care staff 
     member (including prospective child care staff members) of 
     the provider.
       ``(2) Staff members.--Subject to paragraph (4), in the case 
     of an individual who became a child care staff member before 
     the date of enactment of the Child Care and Development Block 
     Grant Act of 2014, the provider shall submit such a request--
       ``(A) prior to the last day described in subsection (i)(1); 
     and
       ``(B) not less often than once during each 5-year period 
     following the first submission date under this paragraph for 
     that staff member.
       ``(3) Prospective staff members.--Subject to paragraph (4), 
     in the case of an individual who is a prospective child care 
     staff member on or after that date of enactment, the provider 
     shall submit such a request--
       ``(A) prior to the date the individual becomes a child care 
     staff member of the provider; and
       ``(B) not less often than once during each 5-year period 
     following the first submission date under this paragraph for 
     that staff member.
       ``(4) Background check for another child care provider.--A 
     child care provider shall not be required to submit a request 
     under paragraph (2) or (3) for a child care staff member if--
       ``(A) the staff member received a background check 
     described in subsection (b)--
       ``(i) within 5 years before the latest date on which such a 
     submission may be made; and
       ``(ii) while employed by or seeking employment by another 
     child care provider within the State;
       ``(B) the State provided to the first provider a qualifying 
     background check result, consistent with this subchapter, for 
     the staff member; and
       ``(C) the staff member is employed by a child care provider 
     within the State, or has been separated from employment from 
     a child care provider within the State for a period of not 
     more than 180 consecutive days.
       ``(e) Background Check Results and Appeals.--

[[Page S1544]]

       ``(1) Background check results.--The State shall carry out 
     the request of a child care provider for a criminal 
     background check as expeditiously as possible, but in not to 
     exceed 45 days after the date on which such request was 
     submitted, and shall provide the results of the criminal 
     background check to such provider and to the current or 
     prospective staff member.
       ``(2) Privacy.--
       ``(A) In general.--The State shall provide the results of 
     the criminal background check to the provider in a statement 
     that indicates whether a child care staff member (including a 
     prospective child care staff member) is eligible or 
     ineligible for employment described in subsection (c), 
     without revealing any disqualifying crime or other related 
     information regarding the individual.
       ``(B) Ineligible staff member.--If the child care staff 
     member is ineligible for such employment due to the 
     background check, the State will, when providing the results 
     of the background check, include information related to each 
     disqualifying crime, in a report to the staff member or 
     prospective staff member.
       ``(C) Public release of results.--No State shall publicly 
     release or share the results of individual background checks, 
     however, such results of background checks may be included in 
     the development or dissemination of local or statewide data 
     related to background checks, if such results are not 
     individually identifiable.
       ``(3) Appeals.--
       ``(A) In general.--The State shall provide for a process by 
     which a child care staff member (including a prospective 
     child care staff member) may appeal the results of a criminal 
     background check conducted under this section to challenge 
     the accuracy or completeness of the information contained in 
     such member's criminal background report.
       ``(B) Appeals process.--The State shall ensure that--
       ``(i) each child care staff member shall be given notice of 
     the opportunity to appeal;
       ``(ii) a child care staff member will receive instructions 
     about how to complete the appeals process if the child care 
     staff member wishes to challenge the accuracy or completeness 
     of the information contained in such member's criminal 
     background report; and
       ``(iii) the appeals process is completed in a timely manner 
     for each child care staff member.
       ``(4) Review.--The State may allow for a review process 
     through which the State may determine that a child care staff 
     member (including a prospective child care staff member) 
     disqualified for a crime specified in subsection 
     (c)(1)(D)(ix) is eligible for employment described in 
     subsection (c)(1), notwithstanding subsection (c). The review 
     process shall be consistent with title VII of the Civil 
     Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000e et seq.).
       ``(5) No private right of action.--Nothing in this section 
     shall be construed to create a private right of action if the 
     provider is in compliance with State regulations and 
     requirements.
       ``(f) Fees for Background Checks.--Fees that a State may 
     charge for the costs of processing applications and 
     administering a criminal background check as required by this 
     section shall not exceed the actual costs to the State for 
     the processing and administration.
       ``(g) Construction.--
       ``(1) Disqualification for other crimes.--Nothing in this 
     section shall be construed to prevent a State from 
     disqualifying individuals as child care staff members based 
     on their conviction for crimes not specifically listed in 
     this section that bear upon the fitness of an individual to 
     provide care for and have responsibility for the safety and 
     well-being of children.
       ``(2) Rights and remedies.--Nothing in this section shall 
     be construed to alter or otherwise affect the rights and 
     remedies provided for child care staff members residing in a 
     State that disqualifies individuals as child care staff 
     members for crimes not specifically provided for under this 
     section.
       ``(h) Definitions.--In this section--
       ``(1) the term `child care provider' means a center-based 
     child care provider, a family child care provider, or another 
     provider of child care services for compensation and on a 
     regular basis that--
       ``(A) is not an individual who is related to all children 
     for whom child care services are provided; and
       ``(B) is licensed, regulated, or registered under State law 
     or receives assistance provided in accordance with this 
     subchapter; and
       ``(2) the term `child care staff member' means an 
     individual (other than an individual who is related to all 
     children for whom child care services are provided)--
       ``(A) who is employed by a child care provider for 
     compensation;
       ``(B) whose activities involve the care or supervision of 
     children for a child care provider or unsupervised access to 
     children who are cared for or supervised by a child care 
     provider; or
       ``(C) who is a family child care provider.
       ``(i) Effective Date.--
       ``(1) In general.--A State that receives funds under this 
     subchapter shall meet the requirements of this section for 
     the provision of criminal background checks for child care 
     staff members described in subsection (d)(1) not later than 
     the last day of the second full fiscal year after the date of 
     enactment of the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act 
     of 2014.
       ``(2) Extension.--The Secretary may grant a State an 
     extension of time, of not more than 1 fiscal year, to meet 
     the requirements of this section if the State demonstrates a 
     good faith effort to comply with the requirements of this 
     section.
       ``(3) Penalty for noncompliance.--Except as provided in 
     paragraphs (1) and (2), for any fiscal year that a State 
     fails to comply substantially with the requirements of this 
     section, the Secretary shall withhold 5 percent of the funds 
     that would otherwise be allocated to that State in accordance 
     with this subchapter for the following fiscal year.''.

     SEC. 8. REPORTS AND INFORMATION.

       (a) Administration.--Section 658I of the Child Care and 
     Development Block Grant Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 9858g) is 
     amended--
       (1) in subsection (a)--
       (A) in paragraph (2)--
       (i) by inserting a comma after ``publish''; and
       (ii) by striking ``and'' at the end;
       (B) by striking paragraph (3) and inserting the following:
       ``(3) provide technical assistance to States (which may 
     include providing assistance on a reimbursable basis), 
     consistent with (as appropriate) scientifically valid 
     research, to carry out this subchapter; and''; and
       (C) by adding at the end the following:
       ``(4) disseminate, for voluntary informational purposes, 
     information on practices that scientifically valid research 
     indicates are most successful in improving the quality of 
     programs that receive assistance under this subchapter.''; 
     and
       (2) by adding at the end the following:
       ``(c) Prohibition.--Nothing in this subchapter shall be 
     construed as providing the Secretary the authority to permit 
     States to alter the eligibility requirements for eligible 
     children, including work requirements that apply to the 
     parents of eligible children.''.
       (b) Requests for Relief.--Section 658I of the Child Care 
     and Development Block Grant Act of 1990, as amended by 
     subsection (a), is further amended by adding at the end the 
     following:
       ``(d) Request for Relief.--
       ``(1) In general.--The State may submit to the Secretary a 
     request for relief from any provision of Federal law 
     (including a regulation, policy, or procedure) affecting the 
     delivery of child care services with Federal funds, other 
     than this subchapter, that conflicts with a requirement of 
     this subchapter.
       ``(2) Contents.--Such request shall--
       ``(A) detail the provision of Federal law that conflicts 
     with that requirement;
       ``(B) describe how modifying compliance with that provision 
     of Federal law to meet the requirements of this subchapter 
     will, by itself, improve delivery of child care services for 
     children in the State; and
       ``(C) certify that the health, safety, and well-being of 
     children served through assistance received under this 
     subchapter will not be compromised as a result.
       ``(3) Consultation.--The Secretary shall consult with the 
     State submitting the request and the head of each Federal 
     agency (other than the Secretary) with responsibility for 
     administering the Federal law detailed in the State's 
     request. The consulting parties shall jointly identify--
       ``(A) any provision of Federal law (including a regulation, 
     policy, or procedure) for which a waiver is necessary to 
     enable the State to provide services in accordance with the 
     request; and
       ``(B) any corresponding waiver.
       ``(4) Waivers.--Notwithstanding any other provision of law, 
     and after the joint identification described in paragraph 
     (3), the head of the Federal agency involved shall have the 
     authority to waive any statutory provision administered by 
     that agency, or any regulation, policy, or procedure issued 
     by that agency, that has been so identified, unless the head 
     of the Federal agency determines that such a waiver is 
     inconsistent with the objectives of this subchapter or the 
     Federal law from which relief is sought.
       ``(5) Approval.--Within 90 days after the receipt of a 
     State's request under this subsection, the Secretary shall 
     inform the State of the Secretary's approval or disapproval 
     of the request. If the plan is disapproved, the Secretary 
     shall inform the State, in writing, of the reasons for the 
     disapproval and give the State the opportunity to amend the 
     request.
       ``(6) Duration.--The Secretary may approve a request under 
     this subsection for a period of not more than 3 years, and 
     may renew the approval for additional periods of not more 
     than 3 years.
       ``(7) Termination.--The Secretary shall terminate approval 
     of a request for relief authorized under this subsection if 
     the Secretary determines, after notice and opportunity for a 
     hearing, that the performance of a State granted relief under 
     this subsection has been inadequate, or if such relief is no 
     longer necessary to achieve its original purposes.''.
       (c) Reports.--Section 658K(a) of the Child Care and 
     Development Block Grant Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 9858i(a)) is 
     amended--
       (1) in paragraph (1)(B)--
       (A) in clause (ix), by striking ``and'' at the end;
       (B) in clause (x), by inserting ``and'' at the end; and
       (C) by inserting after clause (x), the following:
       ``(xi) whether the children receiving assistance under this 
     subchapter are homeless children;''; and
       (2) in paragraph (2)--
       (A) in the matter preceding subparagraph (A), by striking 
     ``1997'' and inserting ``2014''; and
       (B) in subparagraph (A), by striking ``section 658P(5)'' 
     and inserting ``section 658P(6)''.
       (d) Report by Secretary.--Section 658L of the Child Care 
     and Development Block Grant Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 9858j) is 
     amended--
       (1) by striking the section heading and inserting the 
     following:

     ``SEC. 658L. REPORTS, HOTLINE, AND WEB SITE.'';

       (2) by striking ``Not later'' and inserting the following:
       ``(a) Report by Secretary.--Not later'';
       (3) by striking ``1998'' and inserting ``2016''; and
       (4) by striking ``to the Committee'' and all that follows 
     through ``of the Senate'' and inserting ``to the Committee on 
     Education and the Workforce of the House of Representatives 
     and the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions 
     of the Senate''; and

[[Page S1545]]

       (5) by adding at the end the following:
       ``(b) National Toll-Free Hotline and Web Site.--
       ``(1) In general.--The Secretary shall operate a national 
     toll-free hotline and Web site, to--
       ``(A) develop and disseminate publicly available child care 
     consumer education information for parents and help parents 
     access safe, affordable, and quality child care in their 
     community; and
       ``(B) to allow persons to report (anonymously if desired) 
     suspected child abuse or neglect, or violations of health and 
     safety requirements, by an eligible child care provider that 
     receives assistance under this subchapter.
       ``(2) Requirements.--The Secretary shall ensure that the 
     hotline and Web site meet the following requirements:
       ``(A) Referral to local child care providers.--The Web site 
     shall be hosted by `childcare.gov'. The Web site shall enable 
     a child care consumer to enter a zip code and obtain a 
     referral to local child care providers described in 
     subparagraph (B) within a specified search radius.
       ``(B) Information.--The Web site shall provide to 
     consumers, directly or through linkages to State databases, 
     at a minimum--
       ``(i) a localized list of all State licensed child care 
     providers;
       ``(ii) any provider-specific information from a Quality 
     Rating and Improvement System or information about other 
     quality indicators, to the extent the information is publicly 
     available and to the extent practicable;
       ``(iii) any other provider-specific information about 
     compliance with licensing, and health and safety, 
     requirements to the extent the information is publicly 
     available and to the extent practicable;
       ``(iv) referrals to local resource and referral 
     organizations from which consumers can find more information 
     about child care providers, and a recommendation that 
     consumers consult with the organizations when selecting a 
     child care provider; and
       ``(v) State information about child care subsidy programs 
     and other financial supports available to families.
       ``(C) Nationwide capacity.--The Web site and hotline shall 
     have the capacity to help families in every State and 
     community in the Nation.
       ``(D) Information at all hours.--The Web site shall 
     provide, to parents and families, access to information about 
     child care 24 hours a day.
       ``(E) Services in different languages.--The Web site and 
     hotline shall ensure the widest possible access to services 
     for families who speak languages other than English.
       ``(F) High-quality consumer education and referral.--The 
     Web site and hotline shall ensure that families have access 
     to child care consumer education and referral services that 
     are consistent and of high quality.
       ``(3) Prohibition.--Nothing in this subsection shall be 
     construed to allow the Secretary to compel States to provide 
     additional data and information that is currently (as of the 
     date of enactment of the Child Care and Development Block 
     Grant Act of 2014) not publicly available, or is not required 
     by this subchapter.''.

     SEC. 9. RESERVATION FOR TOLL-FREE HOTLINE AND WEB SITE; 
                   PAYMENTS TO BENEFIT INDIAN CHILDREN.

       Section 658O of the Child Care and Development Block Grant 
     Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 9858m) is amended--
       (1) in subsection (a), by adding at the end the following:
       ``(3) National toll-free hotline and web site.--The 
     Secretary shall reserve not less than $1,000,000 of the 
     amount appropriated under this subchapter for each fiscal 
     year for the operation of a national toll-free hotline and 
     Web site, under section 658L(b).''; and
       (2) in subsection (c)(2), by adding at the end the 
     following:
       ``(D) Licensing and standards.--In lieu of any licensing 
     and regulatory requirements applicable under State or local 
     law, the Secretary, in consultation with Indian tribes and 
     tribal organizations, shall develop minimum child care 
     standards that shall be applicable to Indian tribes and 
     tribal organizations receiving assistance under this 
     subchapter. Such standards shall appropriately reflect Indian 
     tribe and tribal organization needs and available resources, 
     and shall include standards requiring a publicly available 
     application, health and safety standards, and standards 
     requiring a reservation of funds for activities to improve 
     the quality of child care provided to Indian children.''.

     SEC. 10. DEFINITIONS.

       Section 658P of the Child Care and Development Block Grant 
     Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 9858n) is amended--
       (1) by striking paragraph (4) and inserting the following:
       ``(3) Child with a disability.--The term `child with a 
     disability' means--
       ``(A) a child with a disability, as defined in section 602 
     of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (20 U.S.C. 
     1401);
       ``(B) a child who is eligible for early intervention 
     services under part C of the Individuals with Disabilities 
     Education Act (20 U.S.C. 1431 et seq.);
       ``(C) a child who is less than 13 years of age and who is 
     eligible for services under section 504 of the Rehabilitation 
     Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. 794); and
       ``(D) a child with a disability, as defined by the State 
     involved.
       ``(4) Eligible child.--The term `eligible child' means an 
     individual--
       ``(A) who is less than 13 years of age;
       ``(B) whose family income does not exceed 85 percent of the 
     State median income for a family of the same size; and
       ``(C) who--
       ``(i) resides with a parent or parents who are working or 
     attending a job training or educational program; or
       ``(ii) is receiving, or needs to receive, protective 
     services and resides with a parent or parents not described 
     in clause (i).'';
       (2) by redesignating paragraphs (5) through (9) as 
     paragraphs (6) through (10), respectively;
       (3) by inserting after paragraph (4), the following:
       ``(5) English learner.--The term `English learner' means an 
     individual who is limited English proficient, as defined in 
     section 9101 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 
     1965 (20 U.S.C. 7801) or section 637 of the Head Start Act 
     (42 U.S.C. 9832).'';
       (4) in paragraph (6)(A), as redesignated by paragraph (2)--
       (A) in clause (i), by striking ``section 658E(c)(2)(E)'' 
     and inserting ``section 658E(c)(2)(F)''; and
       (B) in clause (ii), by striking ``section 658E(c)(2)(F)'' 
     and inserting ``section 658E(c)(2)(I)'';
       (5) in paragraph (9), as redesignated by paragraph (2), by 
     striking ``designated'' and all that follows and inserting 
     ``designated or established under section 658D(a).'';
       (6) in paragraph (10), as redesignated by paragraph (2), by 
     inserting ``, foster parent,'' after ``guardian'';
       (7) by redesignating paragraphs (11) through (14) as 
     paragraphs (12) through (15), respectively; and
       (8) by inserting after paragraph (10), as redesignated by 
     paragraph (2), the following:
       ``(11) Scientifically valid research.--The term 
     `scientifically valid research' includes applied research, 
     basic research, and field-initiated research, for which the 
     rationale, design, and interpretation are soundly developed 
     in accordance with principles of scientific research.''.

     SEC. 11. STUDIES ON WAITING LISTS.

       (a) Study.--The Comptroller General of the United States 
     shall conduct studies to determine, for each State, the 
     number of families that--
       (1) are eligible to receive assistance under the Child Care 
     and Development Block Grant Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 9858 et 
     seq.);
       (2) have applied for the assistance; and
       (3) have been placed on a waiting list for the assistance.
       (b) Report.--The Comptroller General shall prepare a report 
     containing the results of each study and shall submit the 
     report to the appropriate committees of Congress--
       (1) not later than 2 years after the date of enactment of 
     this Act; and
       (2) every 2 years thereafter.
       (c) Definition.--In this section, the term ``State'' has 
     the meaning given the term in section 658P of the Child Care 
     and Development Block Grant Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 9858n).

     SEC. 12. CONFORMING AMENDMENT.

       Section 319C-1(b)(2)(A)(vii) of the Public Health Service 
     Act (42 U.S.C. 247d-3a(b)(2)(A)(vii)) is amended by inserting 
     ``or established'' after ``designated''.

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Iowa.


                           Amendment No. 2811

  Mr. HARKIN. Madam President, I am pleased the Senate is now 
considering the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014. I 
have a first-degree amendment to the committee-reported substitute 
amendment at the desk.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report the amendment.
  The bill clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from Iowa [Mr. Harkin] proposes an amendment 
     numbered 2811.

  Mr. HARKIN. I ask unanimous consent that reading of the amendment be 
dispensed with.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The amendment is as follows:

   (Purpose: To include rural and remote areas as underserved areas 
                     identified in the State plan)

       On page 88, line 8, insert ``, such as rural and remote 
     areas'' after ``underserved areas''.

  Mr. HARKIN. Madam President, we are now on the Child Care and 
Development Block Grant Act of 2014. I know Senator Alexander and I, 
and others, are anxious to consider amendments. I encourage people who 
have amendments to bring them to the floor so Senator Burr, Senator 
Alexander, Senator Mikulski or I could look at them and get things 
lined up.
  It is my intent--and I hope I can speak for Senator Alexander on this 
too--to have an open yet managed process with respect to this bill and 
for Senators who have relevant amendments to have the opportunity to 
have them offered and to be voted on. I expect we would have a couple 
of votes within the next few hours. I don't even know when but sometime 
soon. So again, I strongly encourage Senators with amendments to bring 
them over and file them so we can get them discussed expeditiously.
  This bill was voted unanimously out of the HELP Committee last 
September. I hope it will receive strong bipartisan support here on the 
Senate floor. I give tremendous credit and thanks to Senators Mikulski 
and

[[Page S1546]]

Burr, the sponsors of this legislation, for their leadership in this 
process over a couple of years working together, creating a bill which 
takes huge steps in improving the lives of children and their families.
  At the outset I also thank our ranking member Senator Alexander for 
his partnership and for working with us to reauthorize this vital 
program. Our offices have worked collaboratively over the last couple 
of years to produce a strong bipartisan bill.
  I would start first by saying this program has a big impact in my 
State of Iowa. Right now Iowa serves about 15,800 children every month 
with CCDBG funds: 28 percent infants and toddlers; 26 percent ages 3 to 
4; and about half or 46 percent, ages 5 to 13.
  Most people think of this simply as a childcare-type bill for infants 
and toddlers, but this is not true. This goes to age 13, but over half 
goes to those under the age of 5.
  The last time this was reauthorized in 1996, 18 years ago, this 
program was basically looked at as mainly a work support program, 
taking care of kids while parents went to work. It was only 
incidentally thought of as something which could have a real impact on 
the lives of kids. Well, 18 years later and backed by scientific 
research, we know the program can and should be much more. In addition 
to providing vital work support for parents, it could be a rich early 
learning opportunity for children.

  In 2000 the National Research Council published a groundbreaking 
report called ``Neurons to Neighborhoods.'' The report's author said:

       From the time of conception to the first day of 
     kindergarten, development proceeds at a pace exceeding that 
     of any subsequent stage of life. . . . that what happens 
     during the first months and years of life matters a lot, not 
     because this period of development provides an indelible 
     blueprint for adult well-being, but because it sets either a 
     sturdy or fragile stage for what follows.

  What this bill does is set that sturdy stage.
  This report that I talk about from the National Research Council 
reinforces what we already know--that learning starts at birth and that 
preparation for learning begins even before birth. Eighty percent of a 
child's brain develops between birth and age 3. Because much of a 
child's intellect and skills develop before he or she begins 
kindergarten, we need to give all children every opportunity to reach 
their full potential at their earliest stages in life. This means 
supporting access to high-quality early-learning programs, including 
high-quality childcare.
  The bill before us represents a strong and positive advance for low-
income families who benefit from the childcare subsidies. The bill 
makes many needed improvements that will help establish high 
expectations for federally subsidized childcare in this country. The 
bill accomplishes a lot of good. I will highlight two or three items 
here.
  First of all, education and training for childcare workers. Under 
this bill the States that apply and get these block grants will need to 
develop minimum education and training requirements for childcare 
workers that describe what they must know and be able to do to promote 
the health and development of the children they serve. Just as we know 
that a great teacher is one of the most important factors in a 
classroom, we also know that one of the most critical components of 
early development in children is whether they have supportive nurturing 
interactions with caring adults.
  Another important thing we do in the bill is to promote safety and 
health standards. This bill ensures that licensed childcare providers 
receive a prelicensure inspection and one annual inspection thereafter. 
Alarmingly, some States inspect childcare centers only once in 5 years. 
Some States don't even do a prelicensure inspection until a provider is 
serving more than a dozen children.
  The bill also stipulates and focuses on vulnerable populations, 
including children with disabilities, infants and toddlers, and 
children whose parents work nontraditional hours. I want to highlight 
that the sponsors of this bill, Senator Burr and Senator Mikulski, took 
great care to ensure that childcare programs supported through this 
block grant would be well-suited for children with special needs and 
their families. The legislation asks States to consider the unique 
needs of children with disabilities when developing training 
requirements for childcare workers. A childcare worker may be trained 
to take care of nondisabled children. But taking care of a child with a 
disability requires a little bit more expertise and a little extra 
training, and that is what this bill does provide. It also lets parents 
know the types of services available through the Individuals with 
Disabilities Education Act.
  The bill also provides families with stability and continuity of care 
for families. Once they receive care, they are going to get it for at 
least 1 year if they are initially deemed eligible. Currently, some 
States require parents to reapply for care after only a few months. In 
some cases States will kick parents off of care if they receive a small 
pay raise that makes them ineligible under the State's eligibility 
guidelines. This bill remedies this by ensuring that as long as a 
parent is working or is in a training program and whose income does not 
exceed 85 percent of the State's median income, they will get care for 
at least 1 year without having to work. Again, this helps children 
because we know that a lot of times these kinds of disruptions can 
really set a child back, and this allows at least for continuity for 1 
year.
  The bill also supports the development of a Web site. I know Senator 
Burr was very interested in that and helped promote and put that in the 
bill. The Web site is going to be available for all parents to show 
them the range of childcare providers in their area so they can shop 
around and see what is out there.
  Right now the law says States can set the eligibility requirement as 
long as it does not exceed 85 percent of the State's median income. If 
you look at all of the children ages 0 to age 13--because the bill 
covers up to age 13--if you look at preschool age kids 0 to 5, we do a 
little bit better. States are serving a little more than a quarter of 
the children who would be eligible under the Federal guidelines. I 
think this shows the present landscape right now. Out of 100 percent of 
the kids that are eligible, we have 73 percent eligible preschool-aged 
children not being served. There are about 27 percent of preschool-aged 
children being served. So we do have a long way to go. As chairman of 
the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, 
Education, and Related Agencies, our committee has fought for years to 
increase funding so we can serve more children. The fiscal year 2014 
omnibus included more than a $154 million increase for the childcare 
program. I know that sounds like a lot, but all that it did was replace 
the $118 million cut that happened because of sequestration. We 
replaced the $118 million plus whatever that figures out to--about 
another $36 more million. So it helps. The increased funding will help 
States improve access to quality and affordable childcare by increasing 
the number of kids who can receive it.
  But actually we have a long way to go. The last chart shows what is 
happening. If you look at the blue line at the bottom, that is the 
actual funding in this program. If you go back to 2005 and see what was 
in place, we are about $600 million short of where we would be if we 
kept up with inflation. You see, this is 2005. Those who have been 
around since then, we know what it was like before that. We have lost a 
lot of ground. So we need to make that up, and I hope we can do that in 
our appropriations bills that are coming up.
  This bill changes the landscape and makes it a lot better for 
families out there. The bill authorizes the funding, but the 
appropriations have to fund it. I hope that we can in fiscal year 2015 
continue to be able to keep up the funding increases for the childcare 
development block grants.
  It is a good bill. I am very proud of this bill, proud of the efforts 
that Senator Burr and Senator Mikulski put into it over a long period 
of time. So I urge my colleagues to join in the bipartisan spirit of 
cooperation that we have witnessed in the health committee over the 
last year.
  If Senators have amendments that are germane to the bill, I encourage 
them to bring them over so we can take a look at them and determine a 
fair path forward with respect to those amendments.
  Again, I thank Senator Alexander for a great working relationship on 
this committee and thank him for

[[Page S1547]]

working so hard to help bring this bill forward to the bill today.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Tennessee.
  Mr. ALEXANDER. Madam President, I want to say to the Senator from 
Iowa how much I appreciate working with him.
  We were talking yesterday, and he told me--I think I have these facts 
about right--that our committee in this Congress has reported 17 bills 
that have passed the Senate and 10 that have become law, which I 
suspect exceeds that of any other committee. As our hearing this 
morning on the minimum wage showed, it is not because we always agree 
with each other all the time. We probably have the most ideologically 
split committee in the Congress by party, but we get a lot done. That 
is due in great measure to the way the Senator from Iowa leads the 
committee, and I appreciate that very much.
  I will have more to say about Senator Burr and Senator Mikulski in a 
few moments because they have done the yeoman's work on this. They are 
the leaders of this effort. They immersed themselves in it for the last 
two years. They brought it to a position which convinced everybody on 
the committee it was time to move ahead, but that is not where we were 
when we started. We had lots of differences of opinions, and we came to 
a conclusion that they will be explaining in detail.
  So the way we will proceed today is this. After my remarks, Senator 
Mikulski and Senator Burr will step up and begin to manage the bill. 
Senator Harkin and I will be here. We are continuing right through the 
afternoon.
  We hope that Senators will bring their amendments to the floor. What 
we are hoping to do is to have a debate about the child care and 
development block grant. We are hoping to have amendments, and we will 
have votes on those amendments. It is not our desire to pick this 
Democratic amendment or this Republican amendment. If you have an 
amendment on the child care and development block grant that is related 
to the bill, please bring it over and talk to Senator Burr, Senator 
Mikulski, Senator Harkin, or me, and we will start lining them up. 
There will be time for debate. There will be a vote and it will be 
considered.
  Our hope is to have votes this afternoon, votes tomorrow morning, and 
to let Senators know that there won't be votes tonight so they can plan 
their schedules. Senator Burr will talk more about that and the time 
for attempting to conclude the bill tomorrow. That is our goal. That is 
the way the Senate traditionally has worked. It is the way we hope it 
works today.
  Since Senator Mikulski from Maryland and the Senator from North 
Carolina have done the principal amount of work on the bill, I see no 
need for me to go through the details of the bill. I think they are 
better equipped and prepared to do that. Let me try to put the whole 
effort in perspective before I step aside and Senator Mikulski and 
Senator Burr step up.
  During World War II there were a great many mothers, women, who took 
jobs outside the home. That was different. In our agricultural society 
families worked together. As the industrial society in America 
developed during the 20th century, men largely went away from home to 
work and women mostly worked at home.
  But in World War II something different happened. Many of the men 
were overseas fighting. There was a lot of work to be done at home, and 
so women took jobs in the factories that they didn't have before. That 
produced a new phenomenon in the American society which was called 
worksite daycare. Someone had to take care of the children. In many 
cases companies employing large numbers of women during World War II 
provided sites at the workplace so that mothers could bring their 
children while they worked.
  Then after the war was over, things went back to the way they were 
before, and most American women worked at home. That began to change 
probably in the 1970s. It is probably fair to say that the greatest 
social change in our country over the last 40 years has been the 
gradual and steady phenomenon of more women in the workplace outside 
the home and the adjustments our society has made to that.
  I was lucky. I had an early head start in the little town of 
Maryville, Tennessee, where I grew up at the edge of the Smoky 
Mountains. My mother had one of the town's two preschool education 
programs. She had it in a converted garage in her backyard. She had 
been trained in Kansas and in a settlement house in Chicago. It is hard 
for me today to imagine how she could do this, but she had 25 3-year-
olds and 4-year-olds in the morning and 25 5-year-olds in the 
afternoon. That was Mrs. Alexander's preschool, which we called the 
institution of lower learning.
  She had nowhere else to put me, so I became the first Senator to have 
5 years of kindergarten, which I probably needed, but which gave me a 
head start. It gave me the understanding of what Senator Harkin said 
earlier--that research then, but especially now, shows the brain 
develops at least from the moment of conception and that all of the 
influences around an infant are important to that person's development 
over a long period of time.
  Most parents who understand that want to make sure that they are with 
a child at a very early age stimulating that child, or if they can't be 
with their child for some period of time for some reason, someone else 
is looking after their child. Along with the changing role of women in 
the workforce came the idea of more childcare.

  I remember in 1986 when I was Governor of Tennessee, the head of our 
human services division--a woman named Marguerite Sallee, now 
Marguerite Kondracke--came to me, and she proposed that I ask the 
businesses in Tennessee to create 1,000 worksite daycare places. I was 
kind of taken aback by that because I didn't understand the need for 
it, and I didn't think the businesses would do it voluntarily.
  Well, we did that, and we got twice as many worksite daycare places 
as we requested. It was good for businesses to do and there was plenty 
of demand for it from the parents who had to take their children to 
work. The next year I was out of a job--I was through with my time as 
Governor--and so was Marguerite. Along with Captain Kangaroo--Bob 
Keeshan--my wife, and Brad Martin, we founded a company called 
Corporate Child Care, which provided worksite daycare places. After 
about 10 years, it merged with its major competitor Bright Horizons, 
and they became what is today the largest provider of worksite daycare 
in the world.
  Companies have realized the importance of worksite daycare, but not 
all mothers and fathers can send their children to Bright Horizons 
while they work, and so there came to be a recognition that there 
needed to be some response by the Federal Government.
  The next year, about 1988, the first Federal childcare programs came 
into existence. In 1996, the law we are considering today was basically 
a part of the reform of the Welfare Act. It is a remarkable law because 
it involves lots of State flexibility. In other words, it acknowledges 
that what is good for Maryland may not be good for North Carolina. It 
models our higher education system by letting the money follow the 
child to the institution that the parent thinks is best for their 
child. These are vouchers. It has gradually grown to an area where we 
spend $5 billion or $6 billion of taxpayers' money each year to provide 
about 1\1/2\ million children with an opportunity for childcare.
  I will mention one success story so we have an example of exactly 
what we are talking about. I am thinking of a young mother in Memphis, 
TN, who was attending LeMoyne-Owen College and earning a business 
degree. She had an infant child, and so she put that child in a 
childcare center she chose. The voucher, through this program we are 
talking about today, provided $500 to $600 a month to help pay for the 
bill. Infant childcare is especially expensive. If you think about it, 
this is understandable.
  The success part of the story is that she earned her degree. She is 
now an assistant manager at Walmart in Memphis. She has a second child 
who attends the same childcare center now, but she earns enough to pay 
the full cost.
  This program encourages work, it encourages job training, and for 
those Americans who are low income and working or low income and 
training or educating themselves for a job, this helps them get that 
job. This is an important bill for many families.

[[Page S1548]]

  In Tennessee, we have about 20,000 families affected each month and 
nearly 40,000 children. It is a big help to them. It makes a difference 
in their lives.
  I thank Senator Mikulski and Senator Burr for their work on this 
legislation. I know of no two Senators in this body who approach issues 
in a more serious, effective, and determined way. They also understand 
that in a body of 100 Members, where we each have a right to object, 
that no bill is going to be exactly what any of us want.
  For example, I am leery of the extent of the background checks 
required by this bill, which is one of its major accomplishments. As a 
former Governor, I am very skeptical of Washington setting rules for 
States, but I accept the compromise they have agreed to with the 
background checks. We talked that matter through, and I think it is a 
sound proposal. I congratulate them for the way they have done this 
over the last 2 years and the way we have approached it.
  I will conclude with where I started. We are asking Senators to join 
us in a debate about the child care and development block grant. We 
hope Senators will come to the floor with their ideas on it. We know 
there are a number of Senators who have amendments on both sides of the 
aisle. What we are saying to those Senators is if you have an amendment 
that is related to our bill, you will have a chance to talk about it 
and you will have a chance for it to be voted on and perhaps accepted 
by the full Senate, and hopefully this bill will go to the House and 
become law.
  We know that has not been the story as often as it should be in the 
Senate, but we would like to see that happen more often. It requires a 
little bit of restraint on the part of each of us as Senators. We can't 
all exercise all of our rights all the time and get anything done. It 
requires some trust and restraint on the part of our leaders, Senator 
Reid and Senator McConnell. We appreciate them turning the management 
of the bill over to Senator Mikulski and Senator Burr, with Senator 
Harkin and me in support of their efforts.
  We appreciate the cooperation of the many Senators who have already 
come up with excellent amendments and notified us about them. Senator 
Burr and Senator Mikulski know about them and will talk about them.
  At this stage, I wish to step down and turn this matter over to 
Senator Mikulski first, and then Senator Burr. We invite Senators to 
come over. We will continue through lunch and discuss, debate, talk, 
and begin voting on the Child Care and Development Block Grant 
Reauthorization.
  Mr. ALEXANDER. I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Maryland.
  Ms. MIKULSKI. Madam President, I am so pleased to bring to the floor 
this very important bipartisan legislation, the Child Care and 
Development Block Grant Act of 2014. I am standing here today to speak 
on behalf of families and children across this Nation.
  I am excited to bring forward this bill for two reasons; one, the 
content it represents--a reauthorization framework for the childcare 
and development block grant, one of the most important tools families 
have to be able to afford child are so they may go to work. It is a 
childcare development bill and it is a work assistance bill.
  I am also proud of the process by which we are undertaking this bill, 
the process by which we arrived at and brought this bill to the floor 
today.
  This legislation has not been reauthorized since 1996. Senator 
Richard Burr of North Carolina and I serve on the HELP Committee, of 
which the Presiding Officer is a member. We once shared the 
Subcommittee on Children and Families. Senator Burr and I, who have a 
longstanding professional relationship, said: Let's see what we can get 
done on that committee. Where can we find common ground? Where can we 
find that sensible center? How can we move things forward on a 
bipartisan basis where we add value to our country but don't add to our 
debt?
  We put our heads together, and by looking at the childcare needs in 
our country, we began a regular order process. We held three hearings, 
lots of meetings with stakeholders, over 50 organizations, as well as 
meetings with our staffs and each other, characterized by three 
factors: mutual respect, focusing on national needs, and how we could 
be smart in terms of our policies yet frugal in terms of the way we 
went about the money. We didn't expand the vouchers the way some of us 
would like, but we looked at how we could expand value by focusing on 
quality. Because of the tone we set with each other, we were able to do 
this.
  This is how the Senate should operate. We should have mutual respect, 
talking with each other and not at each other, listening to the 
experts, listening to the grassroots, and paying attention to the 
bottom line. We were able to accomplish what we set out to do.
  Today, as we come to the floor, this is an open amendment process. We 
talk a lot about regular order. There are very few Members of the 
Senate--particularly those who have been elected since 2006--who know 
what regular order is. A quick thumbnail of it means legislation is 
brought to the floor, we offer an open amendment process, debate, 
deliberate, and vote. This is how we hope to be able to proceed today.
  There will be no strong-arming, no stiff-arming, no heavy hand, just 
regular order, regular debate, with every Senator having the 
opportunity to have their day and their say. This is how the Senate 
should operate.
  What also excites me in coming to the floor is not only being the 
Senator from Maryland, but also, as the Presiding Officer knows, I am a 
professionally trained social worker. I have a master's degree in 
social work. I was a foster care worker for Catholic Charities, and I 
was a child abuse worker for the Department of Social Services. One of 
the reasons I came into politics was to be able to take the value of a 
social worker and bring it to the floor of the U.S. Congress to make 
sure we looked at families and their needs. This is what I think this 
bill does.
  We are looking at childcare. Every family in America with children is 
concerned about childcare. They wonder if it is available. They wonder 
if it is affordable. They worry if it is safe, and they are also 
concerned about whether it will help their children to be ready to 
learn.
  We all say that children are one of our most important resources, 
which also means childcare is one of our most important decisions. 
Families will scrimp and save to make sure they have adequate 
childcare. If you are a single parent and working a double shift, you 
wonder if childcare is safe and sound. If you are a student working 
toward a degree, you want to make sure that while you are in school, 
your children are in a good preschool or daycare program. These worries 
weigh heavily on the shoulders of parents everywhere, and our bill 
lifts that burden. This bill gives families and children the childcare 
they need.
  This bill, as I said, is the product of a bipartisan effort. 
Childcare is something all families worry about, regardless of income 
or ZIP Code. This bill ensures that all children get the care they need 
and deserve. What we did was focus on those needs.
  Childcare has not been evaluated since 1996. At that time the program 
was solely a vision as a workforce aid. What we know today is that this 
is also the time of the most rapid period of brain development, and 
that is why it is imperative we ensure our young children are in high-
quality childcare programs. We need to make sure that childcare 
nurtures their development, prepares their minds, and prepares them for 
school.
  The current program is out of date. It doesn't go far enough to 
promote health and safety and also make sure that the staff is ready to 
meet emergency responses and take care of the needs of those children.
  When we worked on this legislation, we focused on quality. I will 
elaborate on that in more detail.
  Way back when this bill was first signed into law, it was under 
George Herbert Bush. It was so women could go from welfare to work. 
President Clinton came in, and part of the welfare reform was to be 
able to do that. Now it is a new day, and we want to make sure that 
childcare not only helps the parents but it also focuses on the 
children. We want to ensure that when parents leave their children at 
daycare, they know their children's providers are trained, that the 
environment is safe, and their program will

[[Page S1549]]

help their children prepare for their education.
  We know there are differences in North Carolina compared to Maryland. 
We know there are differences in Utah compared to Maine. So what we 
have provided is the ability to make sure there is incredible State 
flexibility. I will go into that in more detail.
  I hope my colleagues will join Senator Burr, Senator Alexander, 
Senator Harkin, and myself in passing this bill. I look forward to 
further debate and discussion.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from North Carolina.
  Mr. BURR. Madam President, I thank the Chair, and I thank my good 
friend and colleague from Maryland, Senator Mikulski.
  In the Senate, for those of us who have been around for a while, we 
understand how it works. I am not sure the media does justice to the 
American people in terms of how difficult it is for legislation to 
actually pass the Senate. As a matter of fact, the historical threshold 
of 67 and then 60 in agreement means that if a Senator is a serious 
legislator and their interest is to work on good policy--not perfect; I 
think Senator Alexander said we have never seen a perfect bill--then 
the first thought that goes through a Senator's mind as they work on a 
legislative agenda is, who on the other side of the aisle can I look to 
whom this would be appealing to from the standpoint of their interests 
and, No. 2, an individual who understands how to get through difficult 
times? I am here to say to my colleagues that Barbara Mikulski is a 
Senator who fills that category not just as it pertains to this 
legislation but as it pertains to so much because of her great depth of 
knowledge and, more importantly, her tenacity and her willingness to 
tell people no and to pursue what is right. Because at the end of the 
day--I think I can speak for both of us--this is not about headlines; 
this is about looking at a generation of kids who will be benefited by 
reforms to a reauthorization that hasn't happened since 1996.
  Historically on this issue, George H.W. Bush started the program, and 
it was under the Clinton administration, under welfare reform, that we 
formalized these vouchers. The vouchers were really created so families 
who struggled to keep a job and were low income but had childcare needs 
didn't have to worry about the childcare piece. There was Federal 
assistance that was determined on a sliding scale.
  By the way, let me say to my colleagues, if a State doesn't provide a 
waiver to a family, then they have skin in the game on these vouchers. 
So this is not free across the board.
  This has benefited now 1.6 million families. In North Carolina, there 
are 74,000 vouchers on an annual basis that benefit our children. Those 
are family members who are either in education or who work, and they 
can commit to those jobs because they know that childcare is available 
and the cost is affordable because of this Federal voucher program.
  I think Senator Mikulski would agree with me in saying we hope we 
never see a program that waits this long to be reauthorized. Every 
program here deserves to be reevaluated every 5 years--No. 1, on its 
effectiveness, and No. 2, do we still have the problem we had when the 
program was started. I daresay in her time here--and she has been here 
a lot longer than I have, and I don't say that with regard to her age--
there are programs still on the books that don't have a constituency 
anymore. But the hardest thing for Congress to do is to get rid of 
something or to consolidate. I think Senator Mikulski and I have always 
taken the attitude that if we can make this better and have a positive 
effect on the folks it was intended for, then that is our job. That is 
our responsibility as Members of the Senate.
  So I certainly look forward, after the 2 years we have spent on an 
issue--some might listen to the debate today and say: Geez, why didn't 
they go to the floor and pass it by unanimous consent?
  That is an option. But we also believe we are not perfect, and by 
reaching out to Members and colleagues and saying: Come to the floor; 
if Senators can make this bill better, then come to the floor and offer 
amendments--if a Senator comes to the floor with an amendment and we 
think it makes the bill worse, then we are going to vote against it, 
but we promise this: We will have a vote. That is an important part of 
the Senate, that Members always feel they can put their fingerprints, 
they can put their State's interest into every piece of legislation 
whether or not they are on that committee or subcommittee. We have now, 
with this bill, returned to a process that I think reaches out and 
incorporates that.
  Let me say to our colleagues, it is our intent when I finish speaking 
to start accepting amendments. At some point, with both leaders' 
agreement, this afternoon we will target a period when we will vote on 
whatever stacked amendments we have been able to process. After that, 
we will hopefully go back and consider more amendments. I think it is 
our intent to not have votes tonight but to work with the leaders in 
order to roll those votes to tomorrow morning.
  Let me make this perfectly clear to our colleagues: It is our intent 
to finish this bill tomorrow afternoon, period. So the way to effect 
positive change in this legislation--to get Senators' input into it and 
fingerprints on it--is to not wait until tomorrow afternoon but to come 
down this afternoon and debate the amendments, process the amendments, 
and let's work as the Senate is designed to work. So I encourage my 
colleagues on both sides of the aisle to do that.
  I rise today to speak about S. 1986, the childcare development block 
grant reauthorization bill, with my good friend Senator Mikulski. I 
must say we wouldn't be here if it weren't for the cooperation of 
Senator Harkin and Senator Alexander. Senator Harkin has a long history 
of interest and involvement with policies that affect children. He is 
passionate about it. Senator Alexander has a similar lifetime 
commitment, a Senator who has served as the education governor of 
Tennessee, the Secretary of Education of the United States, and the 
president of the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. So both of them 
come with a tremendous amount of expertise and passion for this issue.
  This legislation is actually necessary to build on what the Child 
Care Development Block Grant Program was established for. As I said 
earlier, 1.6 million children nationally are served today--74,000 in 
North Carolina--and there tends to be a lot of talk in this body about 
strengthening job training, getting people back to work, and 
incentivizing self-reliance. I wish to recommend to my colleagues that 
is exactly what the Child Care Development Block Grant Program does. It 
says to a family: Work and we will help you with childcare. Get 
additional education and we will help you with childcare.
  But one of the problems since 1996 when this program was created was 
the way we looked at one's income was an instantaneous snapshot. So as 
a parent, if I was offered a second shift where I could earn a little 
more money, I would look at how that might affect my child's childcare 
voucher and realize that they will take my voucher away if I take that 
second shift or if I work overtime and get time-and-a-half pay.

  Well, this is evidence that we have looked at all angles. We have 
reached out to the communities that are affected. We have talked to 
people who are providers. We have talked to parents. We have looked at 
the difficulties they struggle with, because our intent is to make sure 
we have a piece of legislation that parents can choose to accept that 
shift offer, can accept working overtime and know they are not going to 
be adversely affected because now we are looking at the yearlong versus 
the individual snapshot.
  So through Federal vouchers, parents who demonstrate that they are 
working or they are in job-training programs or furthering their 
education and who are below 85 percent of the State median income are 
eligible to receive the childcare voucher and to use that at a 
childcare provider of their choice in their State. This is not one 
where we are saying: You have to go here and you have to go there. We 
open it for the choice of the parent.
  In addition, CDBG requires families, as I said earlier, to have skin 
in the game on a sliding scale based upon their income. As a block 
grant, States have great flexibility in how they administer these funds 
but are generally required to set health, safety, and quality 
guidelines to promote parental

[[Page S1550]]

choice, assist parents in becoming independent through work promotion, 
and provide good consumer information so parents can make good 
decisions about their child's care.
  S. 1086, the legislation we have offered, would reauthorize this law 
for the first time since 1996. It would do so by making some 
commonsense changes that address the realities which I have 
highlighted, prioritizing the safety of children who receive care with 
Federal dollars.
  First, we would require all providers and individuals who have 
unsupervised access to children to submit to a criminal background 
check. That check would ensure our young children are not left alone 
with individuals who have committed felonies such as murder, rape, 
child abuse, neglect, robbery, and other serious offenses. This 
provision is the result of legislation I introduced over the past 
several Congresses called the Child Care Protection Act, which I 
believe will do a great deal to improve the safety of our children.
  Let me just stop there and say this is incredible because I think 
most Americans probably believe these background checks take place 
today. And to some degree they are right. States such as North Carolina 
have been responsible, and they do carry out some degree of background 
checks--although not all States, not all providers. But when this bill 
becomes law, it will say to all States and to all providers that 
receive Federal vouchers: You must do this. You must assure every 
parent that these felons are not part of the workforce that has 
unsupervised access to your children.
  Second, this bill asks States to monitor through inspections the 
quality of childcare settings so that basic health and safety 
precautions are taken. Many States currently conduct no checks at all 
for certain settings or conduct them years apart, all while providers 
receive State and Federal tax dollars. At the very least, parents who 
are working several jobs just to make it should know that their child 
is in someone's care who has been trained in the basics of CPR, fire 
prevention, and other commonsense precautions.
  I think one of our colleagues--Senator Landrieu--will come to the 
floor sometime this afternoon and offer an amendment that requires 
evacuation plans. Well, for a Senator from Louisiana who lived this 
firsthand, this is really important. It is a great job of where a 
Member's amendment is going to help to perfect our bill. For anybody 
who lives in a coastal State such as North Carolina--I am sorry I 
didn't think of exactly what she did--but when we look at tornadoes and 
when we look at fires, we are all susceptible to the need of a daycare 
facility having an evacuation plan so that local officials and, more 
importantly, parents and the providers who work there understand what 
to do.
  Third, it asks States to make transparent all the information as 
widely as possible so parents are armed with all the information they 
need when they shop for childcare under the Federal childcare vouchers.
  Fourth, in keeping with the maximum flexibility afforded to States 
under the CDBG, this bill provides States the option of seeking waivers 
from any Federal law that funds early learning or childcare that might 
have conflicting or onerous results for the delivery of that care and 
requires the Secretary of HHS to work with other agencies to provide a 
waiver for those requirements so States and childcare providers can 
focus on providing quality care and not just complying with 
Washington's confusing set of requirements. In other words, the focus 
of this is to make sure the childcare quality component is the single 
most important feature to providers.

  Fifth, it promotes continued employment incentives for parents to 
move higher in their careers by providing better guidance to States on 
how they determine the eligibility of parents and their children. To 
me, it is just common sense that we should not penalize a parent from 
taking on an extra shift or working overtime. But at the same time we 
require States to make sure that only the most needy parents receive 
the childcare vouchers and that they can demonstrate they are following 
the law's work rules. Let me say again--because I think this is lost 
because we have not talked about this in almost two decades--for many 
in the communities we all represent, this is the difference between a 
family being able to keep a job or to be 100 percent on assistance. 
What we have is a Federal program that is not just beneficial, we have 
the data to prove it works, and that matrix continues to be in place.
  Finally, it asks States to place a greater emphasis on building 
quality care settings by gradually increasing the amount of Federal 
dollars that can be set aside from the current law's 4 percent to 10 
percent over the several years that must be used to improve quality 
programs.
  Let me explain. Today, we say you can set aside up to 4 percent for 
quality. We want to extend that. We want to create an incubator that is 
an investment in what we can do to further enhance the quality of what 
these children are exposed to.
  I think Senator Harkin, Senator Alexander, and Senator Mikulski have 
all pointed out that when we go from infancy to age 13, we have the 
majority of the learning period of a child's life. Some of it we pick 
up in the education system. But if they go to childcare after that or 
they go to childcare before it, we want to make sure the quality of 
that, and, more importantly, the innovation of that quality, is such 
that all students, all children can advance because of it.
  This bipartisan legislation is the result of work in the HELP 
Committee. It was influenced and really ramrodded by my good friend 
Senator Mikulski. She was tireless at inviting experts. She sought 
practitioners in all of our States. It was that, and the leadership of 
our chairman and our ranking member, that brings us here today.
  I believe this legislation will go a long way toward improving 
childcare in our country but also toward promoting self-sufficiency and 
independence for working parents. This is not a Federal handout. This 
is a partnership between the Federal Government and the opportunity for 
parents to have a better life. I think the way we have addressed the 
commonsense changes in reauthorization makes it more likely, not less 
likely, that more parents will succeed at that.
  So I encourage my colleagues to support this bill. But I really do 
stress with my colleagues, now is the time to come to the floor. Bring 
your amendments to the floor. Let's debate the amendments. Let's vote 
on the amendments. Let's prove the Senate can function in a very open 
process because in this particular case those vulnerable parents and 
those children, who are the next generation, really do matter and what 
we do really does affect them.
  I thank the Presiding Officer, I thank my colleague from Maryland, 
and I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Maryland.
  Ms. MIKULSKI. Madam President, I know we will be offering amendments 
throughout the afternoon, and we look forward to ample debate and 
discussion on them.
  I want to reiterate my appreciation to Senator Burr for the way we 
have worked together on this bill. He was very generous in his comments 
to me and about me, and I appreciate it. But what I so appreciated in 
working with him is that his whole focus was: How do we protect these 
children? And his work to ensure that the children are safe when they 
are at the daycare, regardless of the size of the provider, was 
important. So, yes, we have good background checks. At the same time, 
we were looking at health and safety standards, making sure the staffs 
are at least trained in the elements of first aid, so that if the 
children needed help because they swallowed something--until the 911 
responders could be there--they would have that training. That is 
really important.
  Yet we had to look at it in a way in which we did not overregulate. 
So we wanted quality standards, but we did not want to have so many 
rules, so many regs--exactly what Senator Alexander cautioned us about: 
Let's not overregulate so that we then stifle or end up shrinking the 
pool. So we, again, worked on what--the phrase ``sensible center'' 
comes from Colin Powell: that if we work hard and listen to each other, 
we can find that sensible center. So it was the balance between Federal 
standards but also local flexibility on the best way to achieve those 
standards, and also to help States pay

[[Page S1551]]

the bill for the training. One of the aspects of our bill is to set 
aside 3 percent of funding to expand access to improve the quality of 
care, especially for infants and toddlers--the most vulnerable 
populations because they cannot tell you things. They cannot tell you 
where they hurt or some of these other things.
  In addition, the amounts States set aside for quality improvement 
also must be at least 10 percent within 5 years of enactment. And 
States must say what they choose to invest in. We hope not only to have 
reporting and accountability but to get an idea for best practices that 
we can circulate among providers. We think this will be important.
  The other area we focused on was in the area Senator Burr talked 
about, providing protections for children who receive assistance. That 
is exactly what I heard in Maryland. This is all income based; in other 
words, your voucher. This is a means-tested program. But if your means 
change in the program, you could lose your daycare. So it was an actual 
disincentive from improving yourself or maybe taking a seasonal job. So 
if you had the opportunity perhaps to work in retail during the holiday 
season--exactly for your own family's holiday celebration--you were 
going to be tremendously disadvantaged because it would be a boost, it 
would look like you were going up, when actually your income might be 
the same if you have taken that part-time job.
  We want to reward work. We want to reward personal responsibility. So 
we were able to provide that flexibility that when parents redetermine 
their eligibility, they will give them ample opportunity to do so. So 
if your child is in daycare, and you take that part-time job or your 
income goes up, you will not lose the daycare you have for that year or 
that determination. We thought that was important.
  The other was meeting the needs of children with disabilities. This 
is a strong passion of Senator Harkin, a well-known advocate for people 
with disabilities, and I know he will speak to that. But it will 
require States to examine: What are they doing to coordinate with the 
IDEA programs, again for preschool-age children with disabilities. 
Often a child who faces a disability is at a disadvantage because the 
daycare they are in does not promote learning.
  I have a constituent in Maryland. She spoke at our press conference 
yesterday. Her name is Cathy Rivera. She is the mother of two children, 
ages 7 and 2. She is also a resource person working at the CentroNia 
family center, which is information services and also focuses on early 
childhood education.
  Her little girl was born without an ear. That is rough going. So 
imagine being an infant, then a toddler, trying to learn a language, 
your family is bilingual--that could be a great asset, but when you 
cannot really hear, and the doctors are doing the most for you to help 
you, you still need to be in an environment that acknowledges that and 
is helping with the learning in childcare, at your pace, your way, so 
that your language skills are also developing because language and 
brain development are tied together. So without the proper environment, 
this little girl would have been doubly disadvantaged--one, with the 
physical situation from birth, but then the learning situation because 
of where she was.
  Well, fortunately--with her mother working in the field of daycare, 
working at an agency that provides information and resources, with the 
help of the childcare subsidy--this little girl could be in the daycare 
that she needs, to not only look out to see that her physical needs are 
being met but that her learning needs are being met.
  Isn't that a great story? But here is a mother who is working, a bit 
strapped financially, but with her own sense of motherhood and personal 
responsibility, she found what she needed. The childcare subsidy was 
able to help her pay for the daycare, and now this little girl has a 
chance. It is going to be a challenging future for her, but she is up 
for this challenge.
  That is what this is. This is not only about numbers and statistics. 
So when we talk about improving quality, we have really tried to take 
into consideration these needs.
  Daycare is expensive. In Maryland, the Maryland Family Network tells 
me that they had--with all of the licensed daycares--over 23,000 
children who were on the wait list for this program--not for daycare--
that is even larger--but for this program.
  So this is why we want to pass this bill and really be able to move 
forward on it. But, again, I am going to come back to this bipartisan 
effort of focusing on safety, security, and also learning readiness.
  Madam President, I yield the floor, and I will say more later.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from North Carolina.
  Mr. BURR. Madam President, I want to take this opportunity to say to 
my colleagues, we are now at a point where we would like to consider 
amendments. So if you have improvements to this bill, it is now after 
lunch. Before you take a nap, come down to the Senate floor, offer your 
amendment. Let's talk about it, and let's process as many as we 
possibly can. It is our intent to consider amendments for the majority 
of the afternoon, at some point--with the cooperation and agreement of 
leaders on both sides--to set a time that we would then vote on the 
amendments that have been processed, hopefully continue to take some 
amendments early in the evening, but our intent would be not to have 
votes tonight so that the schedules are predictable, and to come back 
in the morning, with the leaders' agreement, at a specified time to 
consider the votes that might be stacked, any additional amendments 
that need to be debated and voted on, and it would be Senator 
Mikulski's and my intent, and it is our goal--and when she has a goal, 
let me say to my colleagues, she will achieve that goal--it is our 
intent and our goal to finish this bill tomorrow afternoon.
  We want to make sure we have accommodated every Member who has an 
amendment, every Member who wants to make an improvement to this bill, 
but we ask Members to come to the floor, preferably today, to introduce 
that, call it up, debate it, let us schedule in a queue of votes, and 
we will feel more confident of exactly the timeline we are on as that 
process starts.
  I remind my colleagues that the key enhancements in this bill are it 
improves quality while simultaneously ensuring that Federal funds 
support low-income and at-risk children and facilities; two, it 
addresses the nutritional and physical activity needs of children in a 
childcare setting; three, it is strengthening coordination and the 
alignment to contribute a more comprehensive early childhood education 
and care system; four, it meets the needs of children with disabilities 
who require childcare; five, it provides protections for children and 
families who receive assistance; six, it safeguards the health and the 
safety of children.
  I cannot think of points that are more important as it relates to 
changes to a bill that was created in 1996 and still embraces, I might 
say, the context that it was negotiated in, which was welfare reform.
  How do we provide the avenue for more individuals to enjoy what great 
things this country has to offer for those who are willing to work? 
Welfare reform was a pathway, bipartisanly agreed to, to lead people 
from unemployment to employment and hopefully to continue to whatever 
degree of prosperity they chose to pursue.
  We all know that means you have to have a partner and you have to 
have flexibility, whether that flexibility is being able to meet the 
hours that might put you up for a promotion or to get the skills you 
need to consider a different career or the next level. Every parent 
should probably look at this as I did with mine; that they are the 
single most important part. There are sacrifices every parent makes for 
themselves because of what they provide for their children. That is the 
right thing to do. But through this partnership, for 1.6 million 
children and for 900,000-plus families, we have now provided for over 
two decades a Federal program that helps make that decision so it is 
not either/or; they can pursue a career, they can pursue advancement, 
they can increase their skills, they can increase their education 
without sacrificing that Federal subsidy that provides them the ability 
to drop their kids off in the morning and those kids are taken care of.
  This is a win-win. It is what welfare reform was written to do. I am 
proud

[[Page S1552]]

to work with my good friend Senator Mikulski to make sure we get this 
across the finish line. Come to the floor. Bring your amendments. Make 
this bill better. Let's debate them, let's vote them, but we are going 
to finish tomorrow afternoon.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Ms. MIKULSKI. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Ms. MIKULSKI. Madam President, I reiterate Senator Burr's request. 
People wanted an open amendment process. We are open. Come on and 
amend. We are looking forward to it. While we are waiting for our 
Members to come careening to the floor to offer amendments--by the way, 
20 have been filed, so here we are.
  I wish to comment on something else.


                              Girl Scouts

  You notice I am dressed in green today. I also have on a Girl Scout 
pin. Do I not look like a Girl Scout standing here? I feel like a Girl 
Scout. I was a Girl Scout. Once a Girl Scout, always a Girl Scout.
  Today we are celebrating the 102nd anniversary of Girl Scouts in 
America. What started out as a group of 18 girls in Georgia, organized 
by Juliette Low, has grown into an organization of 3.2 million girls 
and women.
  As a Girl Scout, I knew firsthand about what it was like learning, 
about leadership and service. I loved working on my badges. I liked the 
camaraderie of working with other girls on the various challenges we 
had. I was a child during World War II. The Girl Scout program run out 
of our parish was very important. It provided important activities for 
girls after school. There were comparable Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, 
just like we had the Daisies and the Girl Scouts.
  These were important activities because in my community women were 
working as ``Rosie the riveter.'' So these afterschool programs were 
critical so we could be in a safe environment. We learned wonderful 
skills. We learned about our responsibilities.
  I cannot think enough about Ms. Helen Nimick, who was my Girl Scout 
leader. I wanted to grow up and be like Ms. Nimick, who seemed to know 
how to do 43 things with oatmeal boxes. I do not know if they did it in 
the days of the Presiding Officer; there is a little bit of an age 
difference between us.
  But you know what I loved the most were our pledges. I will just say 
today, first of all, you know the Girl Scout promise: ``To serve God 
and my country, to help people at all times, and live by the Girl Scout 
law.'' Pretty good. But here is the Girl Scout law. I actually carried 
this in my wallet. I will tell you why. Because if you follow the Girl 
Scout law, you are in pretty good shape. By the way, I think over 90 
percent of the women in the Senate were either a Daisy or a Girl Scout, 
but the Girl Scout law says this: ``I will do my best to be honest and 
fair, friendly and helpful, considerate and caring, courageous and 
strong, and responsible for what I say and what I do, and to respect 
myself and others, respect authority, use resources wisely, make the 
world a better place, and be a sister to every Girl Scout, and a sister 
to every Boy Scout.''
  I think this is great. To Girl Scouts everywhere, whether they are 
Daisies or senior leadership, we say congratulations on the 102d 
anniversary. But I want to do a particular shout out to the leaders, 
people who give of their own time and their own dime to help young 
women learn about their country, the world they live in, working 
collegially and in comradeship, camaraderie with others.
  I believe the values I learned as a Girl Scout, though I smile about 
it today, were the lessons of a lifetime. Quite frankly, if I can live 
up to the Girl Scout law, I think I will be a pretty good Senator. So 
hats off to Girl Scouts everywhere, a big thanks to the leaders who do 
it, and let's eat those cookies, even if you are on a different kind of 
program than they are often called for.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from North Carolina.
  Mr. BURR. Madam President, let me admit I was not a Girl Scout. I 
guess I should have assumed Barbara Mikulski was a Girl Scout because 
scouting has made a significant difference in the lives of so many, not 
just in America but globally.
  It is many of the qualities that come from that experience that lead 
to some of our most important national leaders, both in the past and in 
the future. So I join her in recognizing this significant milestone for 
the Girl Scouts. I know it must be challenging in today's nutritional 
environment to actually fund everything off of cookies. But as we have 
seen the drastic change in the way they are marketed, I will assure you 
we are raising a generation of Girl Scouts who are the most creative in 
how they market and sell their products to fund their programs of any 
generation I have seen today.
  I think when kids are challenged at that age to be their own 
entrepreneurs, it is good for this country. We should be proud as 
parents and we should continue to support programs such as Scouting.
  Mr. MENENDEZ. Madam President, I wish to pay tribute to the Girl 
Scouts as the organization celebrates Girl Scout Day. One hundred and 
two years ago, on March 12, 1912, Juliette ``Daisy'' Gordon Low founded 
the first chapter of the Girl Scouts of the United States of America in 
Savannah, GA. Today, the Girl Scouts count over 2 million girls as 
members, including nearly 100,000 in my home State of New Jersey.
  We all know and enjoy their incredibly successful--and delicious--
Girl Scout Cookie program, but beyond the cookies, this program is the 
largest and most successful business run by girls in the world, earning 
nearly $800 million a year. By participating in this program, girls are 
taught five essential entrepreneurial skills, including goal-setting, 
decision-making, money management, people skills, and business ethics. 
This has helped the Girl Scouts teach their members financial literacy 
and business skills, and has inspired generations of women business 
owners and executives.
  The mission of the Girl Scouts has been and continues to be building 
girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a 
better place. In that respect, I commend the Girl Scouts for launching 
a program in 2012 known as Be a Friend First, or BFF, to tackle 
bullying among middle school girls. A recent study found that girls 
developed key relationship and leadership skills from this program, and 
that Hispanic girls experienced a particular benefit from the Girl 
Scouts' gender-specific program.
  I would also like to applaud the Girl Scouts for their continuing 
efforts to encourage careers in the Science, Technology, Engineering, 
and Math, STEM, fields. Only 1 year after they were founded, in 1913, 
the Girl Scouts began awarding their first merit badges in STEM fields, 
the electrician badge and the flyer badge. Today, the Girl Scouts 
continue to encourage girls to consider pursuing careers in STEM 
fields. For the United States to be able to continue to remain the 
world's leading innovator, the participation of women in STEM fields is 
critical. Therefore I commend them for their efforts towards increasing 
the participation of women in STEM careers and education.
  On this Girl Scout Day, for these reasons and for many others, I 
applaud the Girl Scouts for the outstanding work that they do in our 
communities and for girls across America.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Nevada.
  Mr. HELLER. I ask unanimous consent to speak as in morning business 
for up to 10 minutes.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  (The remarks of Mr. Heller are printed in today's Record under 
``Morning Business.'')
  Mr. HELLER. Madam President, I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. HATCH. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. HATCH. Madam President, I rise today to discuss my disappointment 
in

[[Page S1553]]

the recent turn of events involving the sustainable growth rate 
formula, or what we call the SGR or the doc fix. Enacted in 1997, the 
SGR was conceived as a means of trying to balance the budget by 
restraining health care costs in Medicare, but it was deeply flawed 
from the start. Its reimbursement cuts to physicians would cripple 
seniors' ability to get the quality health care they deserve from their 
doctors.
  Consequently, since 2002, when the SGR came into effect, Congress has 
patched it on a regular basis, and there has been bipartisan support 
for doing so. These ``patches'' have frequently been cobbled together 
at the midnight hour between leadership of both parties and included in 
larger legislation, without the input of the Members or even going 
through the regular legislative process. Now, this perverse annual 
dark-of-night ritual has to stop. Seniors and physicians understand 
that. Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate understand 
that.
  For the better part of a year, Congress--to the surprise of many--
worked to fully repeal the SGR and replace it with more reasonable 
reforms that moved Medicare's physician fee-for-service reimbursement 
system toward a system that rewards doctors for providing quality care 
based on outcomes, and we have made tremendous progress. Senator Baucus 
and I worked for months on a bill that sailed through the Finance 
Committee on a bipartisan basis. The two relevant House committees 
passed bipartisan legislation repealing the SGR as well.
  Then, in a turn of events that is all too rare these days, the 
chairman and ranking members of the Senate Finance Committee, the House 
Ways and Means Committee, and the House Energy and Commerce Committee 
worked tirelessly to come up with one unified policy that House and 
Senate Democrats and Republicans could all support. Believe it or not, 
we succeeded. We succeeded by involving all stakeholders, including the 
influential American Medical Association, in a fair and equitable 
manner that resulted in near-unanimous support across the health care 
community. For the first time since its enactment in 1997, the House 
and Senate united behind a policy that gets rid of this flawed Medicare 
reimbursement system.
  So, Madam President, if we have moved this far, what is the problem? 
Why am I disappointed? Well, I am going to tell you.
  Last night I was informed that the majority leader is bringing 
straight to the floor of this body the very policy we successfully 
negotiated--tacking on what are known as the health care extenders 
which the Finance Committee passed but which were not included in what 
the House and Senate agreed upon with the SGR. But--and here is the 
problem--the Democrats have no plans whatsoever to pay for it. So 
Senate Democrats want to pass a bill that has a roughly $177 billion 
price tag without even trying to offset any of the cost. Sadly, these 
same Democrats don't seem to care that they have quickly turned what 
was a true bipartisan accomplishment into another partisan political 
ploy. This is deeply disappointing.
  I am very sympathetic to those who say that since Congress has never 
let the SGR go into effect, we should not have to pay for it. But let's 
be honest--there is no way that right now a bill that would add close 
to $200 billion to the deficit is ever going to pass the House. And I 
don't blame the House. This is reality.
  Democrats in the Senate have blasted the House SGR repeal bill that 
is paid for by repealing ObamaCare's individual mandate. The Senate 
majority leader has said that what the House is doing has ``no 
credibility'' and that House Republicans ``gotta find something else'' 
to pay for it. But can't the very same thing be said of what the Senate 
Democrats are doing--that their plan has ``no credibility'' and that 
they have to find a way of paying for this if they are going to do it? 
I think we all know the answer to that.
  I just don't understand how we have gotten here. I don't understand 
why there are these unfortunate attempts to poison a bipartisan product 
with needless partisanship. We all want to repeal the SGR, so let's 
dispense with the games and get back to work figuring out a real path 
forward and one that involves an offset.
  What is even more astonishing is that Senate Democrats are proceeding 
in this manner on the very week some of my colleagues are trying to 
make the Senate work. Senators Burr and Mikulski have put forward a 
bill that the Senate is set to consider to reform the Child Care and 
Development Block Grant Program. That is an important bill--certainly 
to me because I was one of the few who rammed that through way back 
when and took a lot of flak in the process. But it has worked amazingly 
well.
  Now Senators Burr and Mikulski have put forward this bill, after a 
lot of work by Senator Alexander and Senator Schumer to get the Senate 
working again, to allow amendments and debate, and I have to say I 
commend them, and I think Senators Burr and Mikulski deserve great 
applause and commendation, as do Senators Alexander and Schumer. That 
is what I don't understand.
  Everybody here knows I have a record of working across the aisle, 
sometimes to the chagrin of Members of my own party and certainly 
sometimes to the irritation of some of our very far-right people in 
Utah. Why turn this bipartisan proposal into a partisan exercise when 
so many Senators want to work together to fix the problems the American 
people face each and every day?
  Let me be clear. I support what House Republicans have proposed. It 
is a reasonable approach to paying for a full repeal of the doc fix. 
Almost every week, the White House delays or repeals another part of 
ObamaCare, so it is time for the American people to get a reprieve as 
well. It is the right thing to do. But I am interested in a result.
  I want to fix the SGR system once and for all, and I hope that after 
this pointless exercise designed for political cover we can come 
together to do what is right. Let's go back to our winning formula and 
get our bipartisan, bicameral negotiations underway to find a 
responsible path forward.
  Look, I like both of our leaders. They are strong people. They have 
differing philosophies. There is much to commend both of them and I 
suppose some would say much to criticize in each case. But there is no 
reason for this type of ramming something through that has no chance of 
passing the House. Frankly, it doesn't have much chance of having any 
Republican support at this point because we believe this kind of a 
program has to be offset to literally be valid and to be viable. I 
think everybody here knows that, and so we have to find an offset to do 
it. If we can't find an offset, we have to keep the SGR alive until we 
do. But to make it into a partisan game at this point, after all the 
bipartisan work that has been done, is really a tragedy.
  We were on the verge of getting this solved. I hope that doesn't 
happen this time because a lot of us have worked our guts out to get 
this to this point, on both sides of the aisle. It would be an absolute 
tragedy if we can't get the cooperation to get this through.
  The Democrats, if they do not like the offset the House has come up 
with, although it seems to make sense to me, they control this body, 
can come up with an offset both sides can agree to. But we have to have 
an offset and we have to do this the right way or we will be right back 
at base one after all the work that has been put into it in a 
bipartisan way to get this done.
  Madam President, I yield the floor, and I suggest the absence of a 
quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Coons). The Senator from Wyoming.
  Mr. ENZI. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.


                           Amendment No. 2812

  Mr. ENZI. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the pending 
amendment be set aside and I be allowed to call up my amendment No. 
2812.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The clerk will report.
  The bill clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from Wyoming [Mr. Enzi] proposes an amendment 
     numbered 2812.

  Mr. ENZI. I ask unanimous consent that the reading of the amendment 
be dispensed with.

[[Page S1554]]

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The amendment is as follows:

  (Purpose: To require the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in 
  conjunction with the Secretary of Education, to conduct a review of 
 Federal early learning and care programs and make recommendations for 
                   streamlining the various programs)

       At the appropriate place, insert the following:

     SEC. __. REVIEW OF FEDERAL EARLY LEARNING AND CARE PROGRAMS.

       (a) In General.--The Secretary of Health and Human 
     Services, in conjunction with the Secretary of Education, 
     shall conduct an interdepartmental review of all early 
     learning and care programs in order to--
       (1) develop a plan for the elimination of duplicative and 
     overlapping programs, as identified by the Government 
     Accountability Office's 2012 annual report (GAO-12-342SP); 
     and
       (2) make recommendations to Congress for streamlining all 
     such programs.
       (b) Report.--Not later than 1 year after the date of 
     enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Health and Human 
     Services, in consultation with the Secretary of Education and 
     the heads of all Federal agencies that administer Federal 
     early learning and care programs, shall submit to the 
     Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions of the 
     Senate and the Committee on Education and the Workforce of 
     the House of Representatives, a detailed report that outlines 
     the efficiencies that can be achieved by, as well as specific 
     recommendations for, eliminating duplication, overlap, and 
     fragmentation among all Federal early learning and care 
     programs.

  Mr. ENZI. Mr. President, when the Child Care and Development Block 
Grant Program was first created in the 1990s, it was seen primarily as 
a way to help parents enter the workforce or get job training.
  The program, which is administered by the U.S. Department of Health 
and Human Services, gets about $5.2 billion a year in Federal funding 
plus State matching funds, although the fiscal year 2014 appropriation 
is approximately $2.4 billion.
  The last reauthorization of this program took place nearly 20 years 
ago. This bipartisan CCDBG reauthorization, the Mikulski-Burr-Harkin-
Alexander bill, puts a greater emphasis on the quality of the childcare 
programs children are entering. The bipartisan bill would refocus the 
program on quality, not just access.
  The legislation emphasizes the protection of vulnerable populations, 
incentivizing self-sufficiency and individual responsibility. The bill 
also improves coordination among Federal early childhood education 
programs.
  As a block grant, States have a great deal of flexibility in how they 
administer child care and development block grant funds but are 
generally required to set health, safety, and quality guidelines, 
promote parental choice, assist parents in becoming independent through 
work promotion, and provide consumer information so parents can make 
decisions about their child's care. The money helps States provide 
grants to low-income parents to cover the cost of childcare and 
afterschool care, typically through a voucher which parents can use at 
the home-based program or childcare center of their choice.
  My amendment requires the Secretaries of Health and Human Services 
and Education to carry out an interdepartmental review of all early 
learning and childcare programs administered by the Federal 
Government--and we have lots of them.
  We all agree the funding invested in early education programs saves 
taxpayers money down the road. So for a long time the Federal 
Government has been doing a lot to increase access to these important 
programs. Federal support for early learning and childcare developed 
over time to meet emerging needs, but at this point multiple Federal 
agencies administer this important investment through numerous 
programs.
  What my amendment does is ask Health and Human Services and the 
Department of Education to report back to Congress with a plan for 
eliminating duplication and overlap, as well as a plan with ways we can 
streamline these programs.
  Every year the Government Accountability Office, GAO, submits a 
report to Congress with recommendations for ways to reduce duplication, 
overlap, and fragmentation in Federal Governmental programs. In its 
2012 annual report to Congress, GAO recommended the Department of 
Education and Health and Human Services should extend their 
coordination efforts to other Federal agencies with early learning and 
childcare programs to combat program fragmentation, simplify children's 
access to these services, collect the data necessary to coordinate 
operation of these programs, and identify and minimize overlap and 
duplication.
  GAO identified 45 early learning and childcare programs funded by the 
Federal Government. Twelve of these programs explicitly provide only 
early learning or childcare services. These 45 programs are 
administered by multiple agencies, including the Department of 
Education, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of 
Agriculture, Department of the Interior, Department of Justice, 
Department of Labor, Department of Housing and Urban Development, the 
General Services Administration, and the Appalachian Regional 
Commission. When I was chairman of the HELP Committee, the late Senator 
Ted Kennedy and I worked to eliminate duplication and overlap in 
programs under our jurisdiction--we got it down from about 119 to 69--
but could not look at any of the programs administered by other 
agencies. We knew there was room for streamlining programs at other 
agencies, but we couldn't work on it, which was frustrating and shows 
how far-flung some of these programs are. Let me report again: the 45 
programs administered by multiple agencies, including not only 
Education but Health and Human Services, Agriculture, Interior, 
Justice, Labor, Housing and Urban Development, General Services 
Administration, and the Appalachian Regional Commission.
  We have to believe we ought to be able to do some consolidation there 
and save some money and improve the quality of programs while we are at 
it.
  In a recent GAO report issued on February 5, 2014, GAO noted that as 
of December 2013, Education and Health and Human Services has taken 
initial steps toward greater coordination but had not yet included all 
Federal agencies which administer these early learning and childcare 
programs in their established interdepartmental workgroup.
  This amendment takes a further step in identifying fragmentation, 
overlap, duplication, and inefficiencies in the Federal Government's 
delivery of numerous learning and care programs beyond the Government 
Administration Organization's report. Streamlining programs to 
eliminate duplication is essential for program integrity and good 
governance but also for eliminating service gaps for eligible children.
  We are doing a lot. We can do better with less through coordination 
and getting it down to where there are less sources and less places 
where there has to be permission, regulation, and oversight. We can do 
better for the kids, and all we are asking for with this is to come up 
with a plan. It doesn't force anything, but hopefully it is a plan we 
will pay attention to and not just put it on the shelf.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Iowa.
  Mr. HARKIN. Mr. President, I first thank Senator Enzi again for 
working with us for a long time on the committee to put this bill 
together, and I thank him for this amendment.
  Basically, GAO's 2012 annual report noted the Department of Education 
and Health and Human Services should be increasing their coordination 
efforts in dealing with childcare and early learning programs. This 
amendment would require them to collaborate and conduct a comprehensive 
review of the 45 programs which currently support early learning and 
childcare across the country. This would ensure better coordination, 
reduction in duplication, and effective programming for children.
  I say to my friend from Wyoming, on Monday I was in my home State of 
Iowa, in Des Moines, visiting an early learning center. On Saturday, I 
was in Ames visiting an early learning center in preparation for this 
bill to be on the floor. Monday, I was meeting with everyone there. 
With all of the different funding streams which come through and all of 
the different cross-purposes, I finally said: Stop a minute. I am 
confused.
  They said: If you are confused, so are we.
  Even the people running the programs--everything has some different

[[Page S1555]]

thing they have to fill out paperwork for to qualify.
  So I am particularly sensitive to the Senator's amendment, having 
just tried to wade through all of that just a couple days ago in Iowa.
  I thank my friend from Wyoming. It is a good amendment and should be 
adopted. We certainly support the amendment.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from North Carolina.
  Mr. BURR. Mr. President, I also applaud my colleague Senator Enzi. 
This is a needed amendment. It makes the bill better.
  I will note for my colleagues, most recently the 2014 Omnibus 
appropriations legislation created two new programs, including the 
Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships Program funded at $500 million 
and the Race to the Top pre-K program funded at $250 million.
  I point these out because both of these further underline the 
interactions which might exist with the current programs. I would think 
any attempt of this would be an administrative responsibility to find 
ways to consolidate, but clearly this is a case where more is not 
better.
  This requires the Secretary to look at all these programs and find 
ways to consolidate in a way which provides a better outcome for those 
who are the beneficiaries. So I urge my colleagues to support this 
amendment.
  I also say to my colleagues, through their staffs, it is probably the 
intent of the Senate to have some votes about 2:30. I think there are 
notifications going out on both sides, but I just want Members to be 
aware. We are trying to accommodate the afternoon schedules of both 
sides of the aisle on commitments they have, one at the White House and 
a Member's meeting on Ukraine this afternoon. So it is our intent right 
now to have up to two votes by 2:30 this afternoon.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Tennessee.
  Mr. ALEXANDER. Mr. President, might I ask the Senator from Iowa and 
the Senator from North Carolina, is it not also likely, given the good 
progress we are making, we may be able to have another vote or two 
between 5 and 5:30 this afternoon so as not to interfere with meetings 
or the briefing many Senators are attending at 5:30?
  Mr. BURR. I would say, it is our intent probably right before the 
Ukraine briefing to hopefully be in a position to dispose of about two 
additional amendments.
  Mr. ALEXANDER. So that would be two votes at 2:30 and perhaps two 
more at probably about 5:15.
  Mr. HARKIN. I concur.
  Mr. ALEXANDER. Mr. President, I thank the Senators from Iowa and 
North Carolina.
  I also thank the Senator from Wyoming for his leadership. For a 
number of years he was the ranking member of the Health, Education, 
Labor & Pensions Committee, and while he was there he focused on trying 
to help us spend our money more efficiently--which all of us want to 
do.
  Sometimes we forget that Head Start is not the only early learning 
program we have in the country. It is the most famous. It is best 
known. It is very popular with most people. It is about $8.6 billion, 
but the bill we are debating today, the child care and development 
block grant, is another $5.3 billion. It is two-thirds the size of Head 
Start and affects 1.5 million children. And then there is another of $5 
billion or so of Federal funding for early learning and early 
childhood. Without getting into a debate about whether we should have 
new programs, I think there is a consensus among most of us that we 
should at least start by taking the money we are spending for early 
childhood and spend it wisely.

  One step we took a few years ago was to create centers of excellence 
for Head Start. This was, I believe, in 2007. The idea there was that 
the Governor of each State would be permitted to pick at least two 
communities or cities where they were doing the best job of spending 
money in a coordinated way for early learning and childhood 
development. Not only are these 18 billion Federal dollars being spent, 
but many States have additional funding for early childhood, most 
States have kindergarten programs, and many States have programs for 3-
year-olds and 4-year-olds. The idea was to see if we could encourage 
Nashville or Denver or Des Moines to take a look at all the children 
between 0 and 6 and all the dollars being spent--public, private, 
Federal, State and local--and see who is doing the best job of putting 
that all together. It is always a problem with a big, complex country 
such as this when you have a decentralized government and there are 
several layers. There are lots of silos, and children don't live in 
silos. They are by themselves needing help and we need to find a way of 
getting the money to them. So the centers of excellence was a modest 
beginning to try to encourage better spending of what is up to $18 
billion of money already being spent.
  I think Senator Enzi's amendment, which I strongly support, would 
give us more information about how to better spend the Federal dollars 
we already spend for early childhood. I simply wanted to call the 
attention of the Senate and others who may be paying attention to that 
centers of excellence program. In the committee chaired by the Senator 
from Iowa, we had excellent testimony from the representative from 
Denver who had one of the first centers of excellence. She talked about 
the progress they have made in taking all the available money and using 
it in the most effective way to help children.
  I hope as we move along through the process of dealing with the 
debate about how do we do a better job of early childhood education 
that we consider centers of excellence, and I hope Senator Enzi's 
amendment is adopted today because it will help us. It will make us a 
better steward of taxpayer dollars, and that means doing a better job 
of helping children.
  Thank you, and I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Iowa.


                           Amendment No. 2818

  Mr. HARKIN. Mr. President, on behalf of Senator Landrieu, I ask 
unanimous consent to set aside the pending amendment and call up her 
amendment No. 2818.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there an objection?
  Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The clerk will report.
  The bill clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from Iowa [Mr. Harkin], for Ms. Landrieu, for 
     herself and Ms. Mikulski, proposes an amendment numbered 
     2818.

  Mr. HARKIN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that reading of 
the amendment be dispensed with.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The amendment is as follows:

       (Purpose: To require a statewide child care disaster plan)

       On page 98, strike line 15 and insert the following:

     view.

       ``(U) Disaster preparedness.--
       ``(i) In general.--The plan shall demonstrate the manner in 
     which the State will address the needs of children in child 
     care services provided through programs authorized under this 
     subchapter, including the need for safe child care, during 
     the period before, during, and after a state of emergency 
     declared by the Governor or a major disaster or emergency (as 
     such terms are defined in section 102 of the Robert T. 
     Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (42 
     U.S.C. 5122)).
       ``(ii) Statewide child care disaster plan.--Such plan shall 
     include a statewide child care disaster plan for coordination 
     of activities and collaboration, in the event of an emergency 
     or disaster described in clause (i), among the State agency 
     with jurisdiction over human services, the agency with 
     jurisdiction over State emergency planning, the State lead 
     agency, the State agency with jurisdiction over licensing of 
     child care providers, the local resource and referral 
     organizations, the State resource and referral system, and 
     the State Advisory Council on Early Childhood Education and 
     Care as provided for under section 642B(b) of the Head Start 
     Act (42 U.S.C. 9837b(b)).
       ``(iii) Disaster plan components.--The components of the 
     disaster plan, for such an emergency or disaster, shall 
     include--

       ``(I) guidelines for the continuation of child care 
     services in the period following the emergency or disaster, 
     including the provision of emergency and temporary child care 
     services, and temporary operating standards for child care 
     providers during that period;
       ``(II) evacuation, relocation, shelter-in-place, and lock-
     down procedures, and procedures for communication and 
     reunification with families, continuity of operations, and 
     accommodation of infants and toddlers, children with 
     disabilities, and children with chronic medical conditions; 
     and
       ``(III) procedures for staff and volunteer training and 
     practice drills.''.

[[Page S1556]]

                           Amendment No. 2822

  Mr. HARKIN. On behalf of Senator Franken, I call up his amendment No. 
2822.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there an objection?
  Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The clerk will report.
  The bill clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from Iowa [Mr. Harkin], for Mr. Franken, for 
     himself, Ms. Murkowski, Ms. Hirono, Ms. Baldwin, Mrs. Murray, 
     and Mr. Thune, proposes an amendment numbered 2822.

  Mr. HARKIN. I ask unanimous consent that reading of the amendment be 
dispensed with.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The amendment is as follows:

(Purpose: To reserve not less than 2 percent of the amount appropriated 
 under the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 1990 in each 
  fiscal year for payments to Indian tribes and tribal organizations)

       On page 136, strike lines 8 and 9 and insert the following:
       (1) in subsection (a)--
       (A) in paragraph (2)--
       (i) by striking ``The Secretary'' and inserting the 
     following:
       ``(A) In general.--The Secretary'';
       (ii) by striking ``1 percent, and not more than 2 
     percent,'' and inserting ``2 percent''; and
       (iii) by adding at the end the following:
       ``(B) Limitations.--Notwithstanding subparagraph (A), the 
     Secretary shall only reserve an amount that is greater than 2 
     percent of the amount appropriated under section 658B, for 
     payments described in subparagraph (A), for a fiscal year 
     (referred to in this subparagraph as the `reservation year') 
     if--
       ``(i) the amount appropriated under section 658B for the 
     reservation year is greater than the amount appropriated 
     under section 658B for fiscal year 2014; and
       ``(ii) the Secretary ensures that the amount allotted to 
     States under subsection (b) for the reservation year is not 
     less than the amount allotted to States under subsection (b) 
     for fiscal year 2014.''; and
       (B) by adding at the end the following:

  Mr. HARKIN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that at 2:30 p.m. 
today the Senate proceed to votes in relation to the following pending 
amendments, in the order listed: Enzi amendment No. 2812 and Franken 
amendment No. 2822; further, that no second-degree amendments be in 
order to either amendment prior to the votes.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there an objection to the request?
  Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. HARKIN. Mr. President, I would like to modify my request for 
unanimous consent that the second vote be a 10-minute vote.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. HARKIN. I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. FRANKEN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The Senator from Minnesota.
  Mr. FRANKEN. Thank you.


                           Amendment No. 2822

  I rise in strong support of the child care development and block 
grant, or CCDBG, and to urge my colleagues to support the amendment 
Senator Murkowski and I put forward.
  Our amendment would help strengthen CCDBG by making sure we are 
addressing some of our Nation's communities that will benefit most from 
it, the people who are members of tribes or tribal organizations all 
over this Nation. American Indians experience exceptionally high 
unemployment levels compared with the rest of the Nation. Furthermore, 
American Indian children and youth experience some of the poorest 
educational outcomes in America. These are exactly the sort of 
challenges CCDBG is designed to address. Our amendment would lift the 
current ceiling on tribal childcare funding so CCDBG can go to where 
the funds are needed most. This would enable more funds to flow to 
tribes and tribal organizations but without reducing the amount that 
goes to States. The amendment specifies that the amount of CCDBG funds 
reserved for tribes only rises if the overall funding level for CCDBG 
goes above its current levels.
  I thank our cosponsors, Senators Murray, Thune, Hirono, Baldwin, and 
Heitkamp, for their support of this amendment. I thank Senators Harkin 
and Alexander and Senators Mikulski and Burr for working together to 
bring this bill to the floor.
  Thank you very much.
  I would yield for my colleague from North Carolina.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from North Carolina.
  Mr. BURR. Mr. President, I rise in strong support of the amendment, 
and I urge my colleagues--this is a reasonable improvement to the bill, 
and I think Senator Franken stated it very well.
  This amendment increases the amount of CCDBG funding set aside for 
tribes from not more than 2 percent to not less than 2 percent. It 
sounds like not much of a difference, but this has a tremendous impact 
on the predictability to tribes of the dollars that are going to be 
available to them.
  So I would urge my colleagues to support the Franken-Murkowski 
amendment.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Iowa.
  Mr. HARKIN. I wish to join with Senator Burr in supporting the 
amendment.


                           Amendment No. 2812

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the question is on 
agreeing to amendment No. 2812.
  Mr. BURR. I ask for the yeas and nays.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there a sufficient second?
  There appears to be a sufficient second.
  The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill clerk called the roll.
  Mr. DURBIN. I announce that the Senator from West Virginia (Mr. 
Rockefeller) is necessarily absent.
  Mr. CORNYN. The following Senator is necessarily absent: the Senator 
from Florida (Mr. Rubio).
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Ms. Heitkamp). Are there any other Senators in 
the Chamber desiring to vote?
  The result was announced--yeas 98, nays 0, as follows:

                      [Rollcall Vote No. 72 Leg.]

                                YEAS--98

     Alexander
     Ayotte
     Baldwin
     Barrasso
     Begich
     Bennet
     Blumenthal
     Blunt
     Booker
     Boozman
     Boxer
     Brown
     Burr
     Cantwell
     Cardin
     Carper
     Casey
     Chambliss
     Coats
     Coburn
     Cochran
     Collins
     Coons
     Corker
     Cornyn
     Crapo
     Cruz
     Donnelly
     Durbin
     Enzi
     Feinstein
     Fischer
     Flake
     Franken
     Gillibrand
     Graham
     Grassley
     Hagan
     Harkin
     Hatch
     Heinrich
     Heitkamp
     Heller
     Hirono
     Hoeven
     Inhofe
     Isakson
     Johanns
     Johnson (SD)
     Johnson (WI)
     Kaine
     King
     Kirk
     Klobuchar
     Landrieu
     Leahy
     Lee
     Levin
     Manchin
     Markey
     McCain
     McCaskill
     McConnell
     Menendez
     Merkley
     Mikulski
     Moran
     Murkowski
     Murphy
     Murray
     Nelson
     Paul
     Portman
     Pryor
     Reed
     Reid
     Risch
     Roberts
     Sanders
     Schatz
     Schumer
     Scott
     Sessions
     Shaheen
     Shelby
     Stabenow
     Tester
     Thune
     Toomey
     Udall (CO)
     Udall (NM)
     Vitter
     Walsh
     Warner
     Warren
     Whitehouse
     Wicker
     Wyden

                             NOT VOTING--2

     Rockefeller
     Rubio
       
  The amendment (No. 2812) was agreed to.
  Mr. HARKIN. Madam President, I move to reconsider the vote, and I 
move to lay that motion on the table.
  The motion to lay on the table was agreed to.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Tennessee.
  Mr. ALEXANDER. Madam President, for the benefit of Senators, I wish 
to ask something about the schedule. I would like to ask the Senator 
from Iowa, the Senator from North Carolina, and Senator Mikulski about 
the schedule of this bill. We are off to a fast start. We have the 
Franken amendment to be voted on now. This is my understanding of the 
schedule, and I want to see if I have it about right and then ask the 
chairman and the floor managers if it is right.
  We expect there to be a colloquy from 3 o'clock until about 4 o'clock 
involving several Senators on the child care and development block 
grant. Then at 5:15 we expect to have a vote--at least one vote--and 
may accept others by voice and maybe have some nominations. Senators 
who have other amendments are free to come and

[[Page S1557]]

speak between 4 o'clock and 5 o'clock. We would expect to have other 
votes tomorrow before lunch and finish the bill, it is my 
understanding, if we don't run into a snag, right after lunch tomorrow, 
about 2:00 or 2:15. That is the course we hope to be on.
  I thank Chairman Harkin and Senator Mikulski and Senator Burr for 
getting us off to a fast start. We have had about 20 amendments from 
both sides brought forward. We have been able to deal with them all.
  Is that about right in terms of the schedule?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Iowa.
  Mr. HARKIN. Yes, that sounds exactly how we are proceeding.
  I thank the Senator from Tennessee for all the good work and the 
cooperation we have had on both sides. I think we are on a good path.
  I reiterate and reemphasize that if anyone has amendments they want 
to offer and speak about, I would say between 4 and 5 is a good time to 
do it today. Then we will have two votes probably around 5:15. We are 
hoping maybe one can be voice voted at that time.


                           Amendment No. 2822

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the question is on 
agreeing to amendment No. 2822.
  Mr. BURR. I ask for the yeas and nays.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there a sufficient second?
  There appears to be a sufficient second.
  The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill clerk called the roll.
  Mr. CORNYN. The following Senator is necessarily absent: the Senator 
from Florida (Mr. Rubio).
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Heinrich). Are there any other Senators in 
the Chamber desiring to vote?
  The result was announced--yeas 93, nays 6, as follows:

                      [Rollcall Vote No. 73 Leg.]

                                YEAS--93

     Alexander
     Ayotte
     Baldwin
     Barrasso
     Begich
     Bennet
     Blumenthal
     Blunt
     Booker
     Boozman
     Boxer
     Brown
     Burr
     Cantwell
     Cardin
     Carper
     Casey
     Chambliss
     Coats
     Coburn
     Cochran
     Collins
     Coons
     Corker
     Crapo
     Cruz
     Donnelly
     Durbin
     Enzi
     Feinstein
     Fischer
     Flake
     Franken
     Gillibrand
     Graham
     Grassley
     Hagan
     Harkin
     Hatch
     Heinrich
     Heitkamp
     Heller
     Hirono
     Hoeven
     Inhofe
     Isakson
     Johanns
     Johnson (SD)
     Johnson (WI)
     Kaine
     King
     Kirk
     Klobuchar
     Landrieu
     Leahy
     Levin
     Manchin
     Markey
     McCain
     McCaskill
     McConnell
     Menendez
     Merkley
     Mikulski
     Moran
     Murkowski
     Murphy
     Murray
     Nelson
     Portman
     Pryor
     Reed
     Reid
     Risch
     Roberts
     Rockefeller
     Sanders
     Schatz
     Schumer
     Scott
     Shaheen
     Stabenow
     Tester
     Thune
     Udall (CO)
     Udall (NM)
     Vitter
     Walsh
     Warner
     Warren
     Whitehouse
     Wicker
     Wyden

                                NAYS--6

     Cornyn
     Lee
     Paul
     Sessions
     Shelby
     Toomey

                             NOT VOTING--1

       
     Rubio
       
  The amendment (No. 2822) was agreed to.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Maryland.
  Ms. MIKULSKI. Mr. President, now, for the next hour, you are going to 
see the women of the Senate, on a bipartisan basis, speaking up on the 
issue of childcare. We have worked long and hard together.
  I am going to withhold my time and turn to the Senator from Nebraska. 
What you need to realize is we are not a caucus. We disagree on many 
things, but on childcare we are united that this bill is a good bill. 
It could be improved through the amendment process. We recognize that.
  So here we are, as a force trying to change the tone, trying to 
change the tide, and really help America's children.
  I yield to Senator Fischer.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Nebraska.
  Mrs. FISCHER. Mr. President, I rise today to speak about the 
reauthorization of the Child Care and Development Block Grant Program. 
I thank the Senator from Maryland for her courtesy. In addition, I 
would like to address an amendment I have proposed to the underlying 
bill.
  Promoting policies that enable job creation is a basic duty of the 
people's government. This bill we have on the floor before us now 
provides low-income, hard-working mothers and fathers with the 
opportunity to have quality childcare while they earn a steady paycheck 
or as they go back to school.
  Americans work hard. They work hard to provide for their families and 
to make a better life for their children. As a mother and a grandmother 
I understand that knowing your children are safe and secure is 
essential to maintaining a steady job. We need to encourage responsible 
adults to enter and to maintain their presence in our workforce. That 
is why I appreciate my colleagues' work and their compromise on this 
bipartisan legislation. I also appreciate how this effort has helped to 
bring some regular order back to the processes of the Senate. I 
especially want to recognize Senators Barbara Mikulski, Lamar 
Alexander, and Richard Burr, who I know worked very hard in a 
collaborative and bipartisan fashion in order to get this bill to the 
floor.
  As part of that process, I filed a proposed amendment that I have 
with Senator King and Senator Rubio to the child care and development 
block grant reauthorization. Our bipartisan amendment is a commonsense 
solution to the FDA's overregulation of low-risk health information 
technology. That includes mobile wellness apps, scheduling software, 
and electronic health records. Under current law, which was established 
in 1976, the FDA can apply its definition of a ``medical device'' to 
assert broad regulatory authority over a wide array of health IT, 
including applications that do not pose any threat to human safety.
  Our amendment allows the FDA to keep its focus on regulating medical 
devices, while creating a modernized oversight framework for low-risk 
categories of health IT. Since proposing this amendment, I have had the 
opportunity to speak with Senator Alexander, the ranking member of the 
Senate HELP Committee. I am happy to say he has expressed an interest 
in that amendment. That is identical to the language introduced as a 
stand-alone bill called the PROTECT Act.
  I look forward to having the opportunity to work with him and 
committee members to advance the core ideas included in the PROTECT 
Act, because I believe with the guidance of the committee, and with the 
guidance of other Senators, we will be able to achieve another 
bipartisan success in this Chamber.
  At Senator Alexander's request, and in response to his kind offers to 
work collaboratively on the PROTECT Act, I have agreed not to formally 
offer this amendment to the bill on the floor, but I do look forward to 
working with the Senator from Tennessee and others to improve upon 
that.
  Again, I thank the leadership of Senator Mikulski, Senator Alexander, 
and Senator Burr on the important legislation before us today. I thank 
them for their work. I thank them for their courtesies in allowing me 
to rise and speak on this very important amendment. I also thank them 
and look forward to working with them on the PROTECT Act in the future.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Maryland.
  Ms. MIKULSKI. I now yield 5 minutes to the Senator from New York, 
another cosponsor of the bill, Senator Gillibrand.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from New York.
  Mrs. GILLIBRAND. Mr. President, I wish to start by thanking Senator 
Mikulski for championing the reauthorization of the Child Care and 
Development Block Grant Program, which is a bipartisan bill that 
reflects the values of this country. It serves more than 1.5 million 
children nationwide every month, including over 120,000 children in New 
York State alone. I also thank Chairman Harkin for his leadership in 
bringing this important legislation through the committee and to the 
floor.
  Everywhere I go in my State of New York I listen to families. I hear 
the exact same sense of struggle from every single one of them, that 
they are doing everything they can do to get by,

[[Page S1558]]

to provide for their kids and give them the best possible chance to 
succeed. But no matter how hard they work, making ends meet is 
difficult. Their day-to-day expenses keep going, while their paychecks 
either stay the same, or, sadly, are diminished.
  As a result, too many families feel they cannot get ahead. So for our 
economy to get going again, it has to face the reality that the face of 
the American workforce has changed. We still have workplace policies 
that reflect the realities of decades ago, in the 1950s and 1960s. But 
in fact, today, 48 percent of the workforce in my State are women.
  In order for us to unleash the full potential of our economy, we have 
to recognize that women are the new more often breadwinners of too many 
families. They are the primary income earners for a growing share 
across America. For that reason, we have to focus on an immovable 
reality for working mothers. That is childcare.
  Today, more women are going back to work sooner after having a child, 
creating a greater demand for affordable childcare that allows them to 
stay in their jobs. In 2012 New York ranked the second least affordable 
State in the Nation for full-time daycare for an infant, according to a 
report by Child Care Aware.
  A two-parent family in New York spends an average of 16.5 percent of 
their annual income to care for an infant. For a single mom in New 
York, the cost was greater than 57 percent of her income. If you cannot 
afford childcare, as many middle-class families cannot, and you do not 
have a family option, the choice you are left with is to leave your job 
and stay home to care for your child. That means less income for 
working families, more women leaving the workforce and a weaker middle 
class. It does not have to be this way. We can keep more working 
mothers in their jobs and more children in quality daycare when we make 
it affordable.
  Our policies must reflect today's reality that women have to work for 
a living. It is not a lifestyle choice for most working mothers, it is 
a fact of survival. That is why I support Senator Mikulski's 
outstanding bill, because it will make daycare more affordable for 
millions of children every single year. It is also why I am a cosponsor 
of Senator Boxer's amendment that will double the childcare tax credit 
families can take to cover the cost of childcare and make it 
refundable.
  Making the tax credit refundable would help those who are working and 
struggling the most but do not earn enough to use the tax credit. It 
means more savings going right back into the pockets of working 
families.
  I also have an amendment that will make middle-class tax cuts better 
for childcare expenses. It will let them deduct the cost of childcare 
as a business expense.
  This proposal, called childcare deduction, will allow you to deduct 
up to $14,000 for two kids or more. That makes perfect sense, because 
in New York, the average daycare for a toddler is $12,000; for an 
infant it is almost $15,000. This will go a long way to making sure our 
hard-working middle-class families have the funds they need to provide 
for their kids.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Maryland.
  Ms. MIKULSKI. Mr. President, I yield 5 minutes to the Senator from 
Michigan, also a sister social worker and a real advocate for good 
nutrition for children.
  Ms. STABENOW. Mr. President, first, as everyone else, I congratulate 
our leader on this issue and on so many issues, including having the 
right kind of appropriations process to invest the dollars that 
Americans work hard to earn, to make sure they are invested in ways 
that help families, children, and to help the middle class to be able 
to succeed in this country.
  I thank Senator Mikulski, the senior Senator from Maryland. Her work 
on this issue, the child care and development block grant, has been 
extraordinary and bipartisan, as is all of her work. She is laser 
focused on creating opportunities for children and families to succeed.
  I think all of, certainly, the women who are speaking today and 
hopefully all of our colleagues understand that quality, affordable 
childcare is not a frill. I realize the Presiding Officer has wonderful 
children as well and understands this is a necessity.
  We care for our children. We want to make sure we are able to work, 
put a roof over their heads, food on the table, to be able to buy their 
school clothes and get them what they need, to be able to pay for 
college, and to be able to do all the things we want to do for 
ourselves, our children, and our families. The costs of childcare are 
part of that equation, being able to do those things for our families 
that we need to do.
  The average cost of childcare for 2 children is $14,872 a year. I 
have heard from my friend and colleague from New York that it was 
higher in New York. I am sure it is higher in many places. But, on 
average, across the country, families are having to come up with almost 
$15,000 a year which equals, if they are working minimum wage, a 40-
hour workweek, working full time for a year. Think about that. If 
someone is in a minimum-wage job--and hopefully we are going to change 
that by raising the minimum wage--trying to make it and they work for 1 
year, that is the average childcare cost for two children. That is why 
this investment in children and families is so important. This is the 
highest household expense for many families.
  In most States 1 year of daycare is more expensive than 1 year of 
tuition at a public university. We are all talking to parents. They are 
all worried about saving for college. With three small grandchildren, I 
think how can I help be part of that process of saving for college. Yet 
1 year of daycare is more expensive than 1 year of tuition at a public 
university. This is too much for many of our families to afford. Very 
difficult choices are being made, choices that families are agonizing 
over.
  This is especially unaffordable for so many hard-working families who 
are trying to climb the ladder of opportunity, trying to get into the 
middle class or maybe holding on by their fingertips and trying to stay 
in the middle class. That is why we have child care and development 
block grants to be able to help families afford a necessity and 
something that is critical for our society, which is having safe, 
affordable, quality childcare for our children.
  This is a critically important program signed into law by President 
George H. W. Bush that 1.6 million children every month rely on; 1.6 
million children in our country and their parents rely on this every 
month.
  States use this funding to help low-income families gain access to 
quality, affordable childcare and afterschool programs. These families 
are trying to make ends meet and make sure their children have the 
opportunities they need to be successful. I want to stress that this 
funding goes to parents who are working--are working--are training for 
work or are enrolled in school.
  I believe the reason we have strong bipartisan support is people 
understand how critical it is to hard-working families. This is an 
investment in our families. It is an investment in America's moms and 
dads. Sixty-five percent of moms work outside the home. In fact, if 
they go back to work, they are earning, in Michigan, only 74 cents on 
every dollar. They don't get a discount on their childcare, just 
because women are only getting three-quarters of a salary. Somehow, 
they are still paying the full price, but this is particularly critical 
for women across America.
  This program helps millions of families, as I indicated, especially 
moms--especially moms getting back to work without having to worry 
about whether their children are going to be safe. Talk about peace of 
mind, this is peace-of-mind legislation for moms and dads to make sure 
their children will have a quality place, affordable place, and a safe 
place to be while they are working to earn a living for their families.
  It has now been 24 years since this law was signed by President Bush, 
18 years since it was last reauthorized. It is time to update it to 
reflect the changing conditions and challenges for our families.
  This bipartisan reauthorization addresses issues facing families who 
need childcare. It improves program quality, making sure funds go to 
families in need; ensures children and childcare get the things they 
need to succeed: good nutrition, which is so critical for

[[Page S1559]]

their growth, physical activity, well-being by developing guidelines 
and incorporating health and wellness training for professional 
development; making sure children's needs are addressed when children 
have disabilities. It is very important for them and their families, 
making sure all childcare providers are properly trained to care for 
children and have been screened. That means first aid, CPR, how to 
prevent sudden infant death syndrome, child abuse, and undergoing a 
background check.
  The bottom line is this is a bill that we need to pass. I am grateful 
and appreciative of the bipartisan support that has gotten us to this 
point, and the 45 national organizations that support it, including the 
Afterschool Alliance, the American Professional Society on the Abuse of 
Children, the National Association for Family Child Care, Teach for 
America, United Way Worldwide, and so many others.
  I am pleased to join with all of my colleagues and urge them that we 
pass this bill as quickly as possible.
  Again, congratulations to our leader, the senior Senator from 
Maryland, who has gotten us to this point. I know we will get it all 
the way through the process.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Maryland.
  Ms. MIKULSKI. I yield the floor to Senator Baldwin of Wisconsin, one 
of our newest Members but not new to this issue. Her record in the 
House on advocacy for children is well-known and respected.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Wisconsin.
  Ms. BALDWIN. In America, we know that quality education and a fair 
shot at work is the path to the middle class, economic security, and 
getting ahead. Today we have an opportunity to make an important 
bipartisan action to help strengthen that path to the middle class.
  For many families in this country, quality, affordable childcare is a 
challenge they struggle with every morning. This is why President 
George H. W. Bush signed the child care and development block grant law 
in 1990, to ensure that working families have access to quality, 
affordable childcare.
  Today I join a bipartisan group of my Senate colleagues in calling 
for reauthorization of the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act 
because of the support it provides working families across this country 
and across the State of Wisconsin, my home State.
  I thank HELP Committee Chairman Harkin and Ranking Member Alexander, 
and Senator Mikulski and Senator Burr for their working across party 
lines to move this important legislation forward.
  This bipartisan work is an endorsement of our shared responsibility 
to build a shared path to the middle class that begins by investing in 
affordable childcare and high-quality early learning programs.
  I am proud to say that Wisconsin has long been a leader in investing 
in our children early. Education for 4-year-olds was part of 
Wisconsin's Constitution in 1845, and the first kindergarten in the 
United States was founded in Watertown, WI, in 1856. Wisconsin is 
nearing universal 4K, with over 90 percent of school districts offering 
kindergarten for 4-year-olds.
  My State has also recognized the importance of effective 
collaborations to support early childhood care and education. Wisconsin 
Early Childhood Collaborating Partners is a statewide partnership 
representing over 50 public and private agencies, led by Wisconsin's 
Department of Public Instruction, with the goal of providing every 
child access to a comprehensive delivery system for high-quality 
education and care.
  I am proud that my State has undertaken a community approach to 
implementing high-quality childcare and early education. More work 
remains to be done, however, both in Wisconsin and nationwide to ensure 
high-quality childcare and education is accessible to every family.
  Our Nation continues to recover from the most severe economic 
downturn since the Great Depression. As our country continues this 
recovery, families have had to get by with less. Americans are in need 
of affordable childcare now more than ever. My home State of Wisconsin 
is no exception to this trend. Today, many parents are in the 
workforce, including over 70 percent of mothers in Wisconsin. For many 
hardworking middle-class families, childcare is necessary but also 
expensive. For millions of families in the United States, childcare is 
their single largest household expense at nearly $15,000 per year.
  In Wisconsin, the cost of childcare for an infant is approximately 40 
percent of a single mother's median income. Two-parent families can 
expect to spend more than 10 percent of their income on childcare.
  Further, in Wisconsin, nearly one-third of children receiving the 
child care and development block grant funding are under the age of 3, 
making this a truly sound investment in those crucial years of early 
life.
  The Child Care and Development Block Grant Act is a bipartisan effort 
to reauthorize, reform, and revitalize the block grant program by 
strengthening Federal safety standards and placing a greater focus on 
the quality of childcare programs.
  This investment in affordable quality childcare will help more than 
1.5 million children, including over 30,000 children in Wisconsin.
  I once again thank my colleagues for working in a bipartisan manner 
to guide us in reauthorizing this vital legislation. High-quality 
childcare and education is essential to the future success of our 
children and our overall success as a nation.
  I am proud to support this legislation as it focuses on improving the 
quality and safety of childcare programs, focuses on supporting infants 
and toddlers with high-quality care, and reflects the realities of 
working families in this difficult economic environment. But, as 
importantly, I am proud to join a bipartisan effort in Washington that 
is squarely focused on both parties working together to build a 
stronger future for our middle class.
  I yield back.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Maryland.


                 Amendments Nos. 2813 and 2814 en bloc

  Ms. MIKULSKI. I ask unanimous consent to make pending Landrieu 
amendments No. 2813 and No. 2814.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The clerk will report the amendments en bloc.
  The assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from Maryland [Ms. Mikulski], for Ms. Landrieu, 
     for herself, Mr. Grassley, and Mr. Inhofe, proposes an 
     amendment numbered 2813.
       The Senator from Maryland [Ms. Mikulski], for Ms. Landrieu, 
     for herself, Mr. Blunt, and Mr. Inhofe, proposes an amendment 
     numbered 2814.

  Ms. MIKULSKI. I ask unanimous consent that the reading of the 
amendments be dispensed with.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The amendments are as follows:


                           amendment no. 2813

 (Purpose: To allow children in foster care to receive services under 
  the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 1990 while their 
  families (including foster families) are taking necessary action to 
   comply with immunization and other health and safety requirements)

       On page 82, lines 9 and 10, strike ``to receive services 
     under this subchapter while their families'' and insert ``and 
     children in foster care to receive services under this 
     subchapter while their families (including foster 
     families)''.


                           amendment no. 2814

  (Purpose: To require the State plan to describe how the State will 
   coordinate the services supported to carry out the Child Care and 
 Development Block Grant Act of 1990 with State agencies and programs 
    serving children in foster care and the foster families of such 
                               children)

       On page 93, strike lines 3 and 4 and insert the following:

     11432(g)(1)(J)(ii));
       ``(VII) State agencies and programs serving children in 
     foster care and the foster families of such children; and
       ``(VIII) other Federal programs

  Ms. MIKULSKI. Mr. President, I note that on the floor are three 
outstanding Senators who wish to speak on this bill: Senator Cantwell, 
Senator Murkowski, and Senator Collins. They come as the deans of the 
Republican women. I ask unanimous consent that they each be allowed to 
speak for 5 minutes in the order in which I stated: Senator Cantwell, 
Senator Murkowski, and then Senator Collins.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Ms. CANTWELL. Mr. President, I thank Chairman Harkin and certainly

[[Page S1560]]

Senator Mikulski and Senator Burr for their leadership on this 
bipartisan issue but especially Senator Mikulski for her constant 
leadership in making sure families in America are cared for.
  This is important bipartisan legislation, and the reauthorization of 
this legislation--the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 
2014--will help ensure that families have access to quality, affordable 
childcare.
  The Child Care and Development Block Grant Program serves more than 
1.6 million children per month nationwide. In my State it serves more 
than 39,000 children per month. With the support of these grants, 
parents can work, look for work, and participate in job-training 
programs while their children receive affordable childcare at quality 
centers or in the child's home.
  The child care and development block grants are a primary source of 
Federal support for childcare assistance, and they play a key role in 
promoting healthy development of children, especially at young ages. 
Research on the effects of early childhood development has continually 
shown that the foundation provided by early learning and childcare 
networks can prevent the achievement gaps at a young age. This bill 
enables States to invest in the programs that have proven to work for 
children and families.
  In Washington more than half of the children served by the child care 
and development block grants are younger than 4 years old, so in my 
State these grants are vital for preparing our youngest children with 
the support and skills they need to stay ahead once they enter into 
kindergarten.
  Professor Cathryn Booth-LaForce, at the University of Washington, 
said:

       Child care affects so many children that for society at 
     large, even small effects are important.

  This bill would provide an additional 22,000 children across our 
Nation with childcare. That is a major effect. Expanding access to 
quality care can help thousands more children across the Nation get a 
running start on school. By preventing achievement gaps for our 
youngest children, we are creating successful students and building a 
skilled workforce for the future.
  This bill allows Washington to make the important investments in our 
youngest learners and in our future economy. So I am so proud to be 
here in support of this bipartisan effort, and again I thank Senator 
Mikulski, Senator Burr, and others for working together at a time when 
people didn't think this level of compromise would result in such an 
important piece of legislation moving forward.
  Once again I particularly wish to thank the dean of the women 
Senators, Senator Mikulski, for this effort and encourage my colleagues 
to support this bill, S. 1086, and make sure we get it passed before 
the end of this week.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Alaska.
  Ms. MURKOWSKI. Mr. President, I, too, am pleased to rise today to 
join my fellow women Senators on the floor this afternoon to speak in 
support of the bipartisan Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 
2014. I also commend Senator Mikulski and Senator Burr on their 
leadership in developing a truly bipartisan bill as we are moving 
forward. They have worked diligently and they have worked in a positive 
and constructive manner that does credit to the Senate operations. I 
also would like to recognize and commend Senator Harkin and Senator 
Alexander, as they have brought this bill through the committee and 
onto the floor.
  I believe this legislation walks that line between asking the States, 
our tribes, and providers to plan ways to improve childcare quality 
without actually dictating the who and how and the what of every aspect 
of childcare. What the bill really does is it strengthens the ways in 
which providers can combine CCDBG, Head Start, title I, and IDEA funds 
to serve more kids, and if we can serve more kids, that is all good. It 
asks them to take an updated look at how they serve children with 
disabilities and how they will address nutrition and fitness and health 
and safety issues, but it will continue to let them figure out the best 
ways to achieve the goals, and that really does make sense.
  In addition, as a result of the bipartisan nature of how this bill 
has come together, Alaskan voices were heard on this, and Alaskan 
concerns about several provisions in the original draft of the bill 
were addressed. For example, States that will be required to perform 
health, safety, and fire inspections may delegate to qualified agencies 
those inspections that require specialized expertise. That helps us in 
Alaska.
  The committee report clarified that States' disaster preparedness 
standards include specific mention of children with disabilities and 
family reunification.
  I was pleased to work with my colleague from Hawaii, Senator Hirono, 
to make sure the bill managers included the technical amendments she 
had requested, which ensured that Native Hawaiian children were not 
inadvertently left out.
  I again thank Senators Mikulski, Burr, Alexander, and Harkin for 
accepting those amendments that have made this bill that much better.
  Mr. President, ensuring that families and children are well served by 
the childcare they pay for, in part with CCDBG assistance, is an 
important task before the Congress because this is not just about 
daycare or early learning, as important as those topics are. The fact 
is that access to high-quality, safe, and affordable childcare is 
really the key component when we are talking about those things that 
build strong economies and strong American communities.
  This assistance allows parents to get the education or the training 
they need to qualify for a good job. It allows them to accept and keep 
a good job that will help pay those bills. It helps employers hire 
qualified employees who are then able to work. It helps the children 
get the foundation they need both academically and socially to be 
prepared to succeed in school and life.
  Getting CCDBG-funded childcare up to speed with the 21st century is a 
key element in addressing income inequality and the deep recession that 
is still present for so many low-income American families. This is 
especially true for American Indian and Alaska Native families. 
American Indians and Alaska Natives experience exceptionally high 
unemployment levels compared to the rest of the Nation. I think the 
Presiding Officer knows this from his State, but in many regions of 
Alaska unemployment among our Native people is more than double our 
statewide rate. In the lower 48, unemployment on our Indian 
reservations was at approximately 50 percent in 2012.
  We also know that high-quality early education can have an important 
and positive effect on the often very difficult academic and social 
outcomes we can see with our American Indians and our Alaska Native 
children if they do not have some of these foundational opportunities 
before them. So increasing these families' access to quality early 
education can have an important, positive effect on these children by 
improving their academic outcomes and their economic opportunities and 
really bringing hope to the community.
  I thank the Senators on the floor for supporting the amendment we 
just had in front of us. Senator Franken and I had offered the tribal 
set-aside. This change, which moves the set-aside from a ceiling to a 
floor, will provide tribes with an opportunity to work with HHS to 
receive additional support for the childcare opportunities that are so 
needed in Indian Country.
  I am proud of the work we are doing in the Senate this week. We could 
have hotlined this bill and passed it by unanimous consent, but I think 
the path we have taken is the right one in bringing the bill to the 
floor and giving each Member the opportunity to be heard on ways to 
improve the bill. Holding votes on amendments in the regular order is 
the right thing to do. I applaud the chairwoman and those who have 
worked so hard, and I look forward to supporting this bill as we see 
its conclusion.
  With that, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Maine.
  Ms. COLLINS. Mr. President, I am pleased to join my colleagues this 
afternoon in expressing support for the

[[Page S1561]]

reauthorization of the Child Care and Development Block Grant Program, 
and I too commend Senator Mikulski, Senator Burr, Senator Harkin, and 
Senator Alexander for crafting this bipartisan bill and bringing it to 
the Senate floor for debate and amendment.
  Childcare for working parents is essential to families throughout the 
Nation, and Maine is no exception. For years the CCDBG Program has 
assisted low-income parents in affording childcare. The support 
provided by this important program enables parents to obtain needed 
care for their children so they may work or improve their own skills 
and education.
  Mr. President, 2,600 children from 1,800 Maine families receive 
Federal childcare subsidies through this program. Particularly during 
these difficult economic times, this program goes a long way in helping 
families in Maine and across the country.
  I have seen firsthand the impact of high-quality early learning on a 
child's ability to succeed and grow. Educare Central Maine, located in 
Waterville, which I visited a few years ago, is a state-of-the-art 
early learning center that serves more than 200 mostly low-income 
children from birth to age 5. Almost half of these children come from 
families that are eligible for assistance, and many rely on the CCDBG 
voucher to help cover the cost of their attending Educare. Educare is a 
great example of quality childcare in my State and of the real impact 
of this program's funding at work in our communities.
  As I saw at Educare in Waterville, the vouchers provided under this 
program allow parents to choose the best childcare setting for their 
children. That is a critical aspect of this program. Vouchers give 
parents the flexibility they want and need to make the best choice for 
their children about the kind of care that best serves their needs, 
whether it is at a childcare center, at a family care home, or with a 
relative or friend. The voucher program helps to keep the decisions in 
the hands of parents.
  I am also pleased this reauthorization requires coordination among 
the early learning advisory councils and Head Start and the IDEA 
programs that serve children with special needs. Aligning these 
programs will help to improve the quality of all services offered for 
infants, toddlers, and preschool-aged children.
  High-quality early learning experiences help ensure that children are 
well prepared for school. This bill improves the current program by 
making sure those providers receiving funding are qualified, receive 
training, and are regularly inspected and monitored.
  I also express my gratitude to the members of the Health, Education, 
Labor and Pensions Committee for including in this legislation 
provisions from the Child Care Infant Mortality Prevention Act. That is 
a bill I introduced with the Senator from California, Dianne Feinstein. 
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as 
the American Academy of Pediatrics, half of the approximately 4,500 
sudden infant death syndrome cases in the United States are entirely 
preventable with effective training and implementation of correct sleep 
practices. I am very pleased this reauthorization includes sudden 
infant death syndrome prevention and safe sleeping practices among the 
new health and safety training topics for providers.
  Childcare is not only important to the developmental health of our 
children but also to the well-being of their parents. When parents know 
their children have a place to go where they will be safe and where 
they will learn, then parents have the peace of mind to earn a living 
to support their families.
  Balancing the need to work with the need for childcare can be very 
difficult. At times, a parent's salary would be almost completely 
offset by the cost of childcare in a low-income family. This bill will 
help more parents get the support they need while reinforcing the 
requirement for high-quality care in healthy, stimulating, and safe 
environments.
  Mr. President, I urge all of my colleagues to support this 
reauthorization bill.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Maryland.
  Ms. MIKULSKI. Mr. President, I thank the Senators from Maine and 
Alaska for their comments, as well as the Senator from Washington 
State. Wasn't it impressive that for the last hour, from both sides of 
the aisle, the women of the Senate have spoken out. Yet this bill is 
not a woman's bill. This is a family bill, where the men and women of 
the Senate came together on a bipartisan basis and have developed a 
framework for a sensible, affordable reauthorization of the Child Care 
and Development Block Grant Act.
  I am so pleased to be a part of this with Senator Harkin, chairman of 
the health and education committee, Senator Lamar Alexander, and 
Senator Richard Burr, my counterpart on the subcommittee, where we 
worked so hard to do this.
  We the women of the Senate often joke, but it is no laughing matter 
when we say we work on the macro issues of our economy and of our 
national security. But we also work on the macaroni and cheese issues 
affecting America's families, and there is no bigger macaroni and 
cheese issue than general education, and of course early childhood 
education, which occurs both in the home--remember, the first teachers 
are always the family--and then childcare. With now more than 40 
percent of American women in the workforce, childcare is indeed a 
compelling issue.
  Childcare is one of the most important decisions a parent can make in 
raising their child. Yet when one asks who is worried about childcare 
or when there is a single mom working double shifts because she might 
make the minimum wage and she is trying to hold body and soul together 
or a married couple where the wife is working in the marketplace as a 
lab technician and the father has a job which might have him commuting 
more than 2 hours a day one way, they need to be able to have 
affordable childhood care. What about the police officer who works the 
night shift? When we say ``police officer,'' it could be female or 
male.
  Our bill helps lift the burden, giving families and children the 
childcare they need. This is why I am so proud the Senate women have 
joined me to support this bill. Many families want childcare which is 
reliable, undeniable, safe, affordable, and accessible. This bill does 
just that.
  So how does it work? The Federal Government provides States and 
Indian tribes with funding. This funding is used to help lower-income 
families afford childcare while their parents work or train for work. 
Families are given vouchers based on their income level to help cover 
the cost of care. These vouchers can be used by parents for care in a 
childcare home, care in a relative's home or in a child care center.
  Every month the CCDBG Program helps more than 1.5 million American 
children. In my own home State of Maryland, 20,000 children are served 
monthly; 20,000 families benefit from this.
  So why is the program important? Childcare is expensive. Even when 
parents are contributing to childcare, it is often one of their highest 
expenditures. On average, Maryland families spend 20 percent of their 
family income on child care. Maryland has 54,000 working moms with 
infants under the age of 1 year. The childcare for this is $13,000 a 
year. We have 148,000 single moms with children under the age of 18. We 
have 200,000 working moms with children under the age of 6. Childcare 
for them for a 4-year-old is about $9,000 a year. This is more than 
what it costs to go to a community college. This is what it costs to go 
to more than some of the campuses at the University of Maryland.
  Childcare is expensive. Taking care of children who are preschool is 
expensive because in order to do the right thing they have to have 
trained staff who not only provide a safe environment for the children, 
but the kind of environment which nurtures their development, develops 
their mind, and prepares them for school. This is why we focused on 
high-quality childcare.
  Safeguarding their health and safety, ensuring children have a 
continuity of care, making sure their nutritional concerns are also 
addressed. We have done this, again, on a bipartisan basis to make sure 
when we provide childcare, and we also provide local flexibility.

[[Page S1562]]

  The needs in a rural State like Utah or Montana are different than 
Maryland or New York. Look at the lead sponsors of this bill: 
Tennessee, North Carolina, Iowa, Maryland. So we provide the local 
flexibility which is so important.
  This bill will make sure we have strong background checks to make 
sure the children are safe. We are going to make sure they meet certain 
basic health requirements where the staff knows basic first aid. We are 
also going to make sure there is money for training and curriculum 
development so each child benefits in a safe learning environment.
  There is much more I could say about this bill, but the most 
important is this. Let's get our amendments done and let's move it. I 
am proud of what we have done, and I really think that if we work 
together, we can offer our amendments and be done by sometime tomorrow.
  So I again reach out to all of my colleagues. We have a good bill. It 
is a bill which helps families and, at the same time, it does not 
really increase bureaucracy.
  I yield the floor and look forward to a continuing debate on the 
bill.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Brown). The Senator from Iowa is 
recognized.


               Amendment No. 2824 and Amendment No. 2809

  Mr. HARKIN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the pending 
amendments be set aside, and call up the following amendments: Bennet-
Isakson No. 2824; and, Boxer-Burr No. 2809.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Without objection, it is so ordered so ordered.
  The clerk will report.
  The assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from Iowa [Mr. Harkin], for Mr. Bennet and Mr. 
     Isakson, proposes an amendment numbered 2824;
       The Senator from Iowa [Mr. Harkin], for Mrs. Boxer and Mr. 
     Burr, proposes amendment numbered 2809.

  Mr. HARKIN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the reading 
of the amendments be dispensed with.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The amendments are as follows:


                           AMENDMENT NO. 2824

  (Purpose: To require States that elect to combine funding for early 
 childhood education and care to describe the manner in which they use 
                         the combined funding)

       On page 91, line 17, insert ``efficiently'' before 
     ``coordinate''.
       On page 93, strike line 9 and insert the following:
       ``(ii) Optional use of combined funds.--If the State elects 
     to combine funding for the services supported to carry out 
     this subchapter with funding for any program described in 
     subclauses (I) through (VII) of clause (i), the plan shall 
     describe how the State will combine the multiple sets of 
     funding and use the combined funding.
       ``(iii) Rule of construction.--Noth-
       On page 128, line 16, strike ``chapter; and'' and insert 
     ``chapter;''.

       On page 128, strike line 22 and insert the following:

     ance with this subchapter.
       ``(5) after consultation with the Secretary of Education 
     and the heads of any other Federal agencies involved, issue 
     guidance, and disseminate information on best practices, 
     regarding use of funding combined by States as described in 
     section 658E(c)(2)(O)(ii), consistent with law other than 
     this subchapter.''; and


                           AMENDMENT NO. 2809

(Purpose: To amend the Crime Control Act of 1990 to improve the quality 
  of background checks for Federal agencies hiring, or contracting to 
           hire, individuals to provide child care services)

       At the appropriate place, insert the following:

     SEC. __. SAFE CHILD CARE ACT.

       (a) Short Title.--This section may be cited as the ``Safe 
     Child Care Act of 2014''.
       (b) Background Checks.--Section 231 of the Crime Control 
     Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 13041) is amended--
       (1) in subsection (a)--
       (A) in paragraph (1), by striking ``subsection (b)(3)'' and 
     inserting ``paragraph (3)''; and
       (B) by redesignating paragraph (2) as paragraph (4);
       (2) by moving paragraphs (2) and (3) of subsection (b) to 
     subsection (a), and inserting them after paragraph (1) of 
     that subsection;
       (3) in subsection (a)(3), as redesignated by paragraph (2) 
     of this subsection, by striking ``subsection (a)(1)'' and 
     inserting ``paragraph (1)'';
       (4) in subsection (b), by striking paragraph (1) and 
     inserting the following:
       ``(1) A background check required by subsection (a) shall 
     be initiated through the personnel programs of the applicable 
     Federal agencies.
       ``(2) A background check for a child care staff member 
     under subsection (a) shall include--
       ``(A) a search, including a fingerprint check, of the State 
     criminal registry or repository in--
       ``(i) the State where the child care staff member resides; 
     and
       ``(ii) each State where the child care staff member 
     previously resided during the longer of--
       ``(I) the 10-year period ending on the date on which the 
     background check is initiated; or
       ``(II) the period beginning on the date on which the child 
     care staff member attained 18 years of age and ending on the 
     date on which the background check is initiated;
       ``(B) a search of State-based child abuse and neglect 
     registries and databases in--
       ``(i) the State where the child care staff member resides; 
     and
       ``(ii) each State where the child care staff member 
     previously resided during the longer of--
       ``(I) the 10-year period ending on the date on which the 
     background check is initiated; or
       ``(II) the period beginning on the date on which the child 
     care staff member attained 18 years of age and ending on the 
     date on which the background check is initiated;
       ``(C) a search of the National Crime Information Center 
     database;
       ``(D) a Federal Bureau of Investigation fingerprint check 
     using the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification 
     System;
       ``(E) a search of the National Sex Offender Registry 
     established under the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety 
     Act of 2006 (42 U.S.C. 16901 et seq.); and
       ``(F) a search of the State sex offender registry 
     established under that Act in--
       ``(i) the State where the child care staff member resides; 
     and
       ``(ii) each State where the child care staff member 
     previously resided during the longer of--
       ``(I) the 10-year period ending on the date on which the 
     background check is initiated; or
       ``(II) the period beginning on the date on which the child 
     care staff member attained 18 years of age and ending on the 
     date on which the background check is initiated.
       ``(3) A child care staff member shall be ineligible for 
     employment by a child care provider if such individual--
       ``(A) refuses to consent to the background check described 
     in subsection (a);
       ``(B) makes a false statement in connection with such 
     background check;
       ``(C) is registered, or is required to be registered, on a 
     State sex offender registry or the National Sex Offender 
     Registry established under the Adam Walsh Child Protection 
     and Safety Act of 2006; or
       ``(D) has been convicted of a felony consisting of--
       ``(i) murder, as described in section 1111 of title 18, 
     United States Code;
       ``(ii) child abuse or neglect;
       ``(iii) a crime against children, including child 
     pornography;
       ``(iv) spousal abuse;
       ``(v) a crime involving rape or sexual assault;
       ``(vi) kidnapping;
       ``(vii) arson;
       ``(viii) physical assault or battery; or
       ``(ix) subject to paragraph (5)(D), a drug-related offense 
     committed during the preceding 5 years.
       ``(4)(A) A child care provider covered by paragraph (3) 
     shall submit a request, to the appropriate State agency 
     designated by a State, for a background check described in 
     subsection (a), for each child care staff member (including 
     prospective child care staff members) of the provider.
       ``(B) In the case of an individual who is hired as a child 
     care staff member before the date of enactment of the Safe 
     Child Care Act of 2014, the provider shall submit such a 
     request--
       ``(i) prior to the last day of the second full fiscal year 
     after that date of enactment; and
       ``(ii) not less often than once during each 5-year period 
     following the first submission date under this subparagraph 
     for that staff member.
       ``(C) In the case of an individual who is a prospective 
     child care staff member on or after that date of enactment, 
     the provider shall submit such a request--
       ``(i) prior to the date the individual becomes a child care 
     staff member of the provider; and
       ``(ii) not less often than once during each 5-year period 
     following the first submission date under this subparagraph 
     for that staff member.
       ``(5)(A) The State shall--
       ``(i) carry out the request of a child care provider for a 
     background check described in subsection (a) as expeditiously 
     as possible; and
       ``(ii) in accordance with subparagraph (B) of this 
     paragraph, provide the results of the background check to--
       ``(I) the child care provider; and
       ``(II) the current or prospective child care staff member 
     for whom the background check is conducted.
       ``(B)(i) The State shall provide the results of a 
     background check to a child care provider as required under 
     subparagraph (A)(ii)(I) in a statement that--
       ``(I) indicates whether the current or prospective child 
     care staff member for whom

[[Page S1563]]

     the background check is conducted is eligible or ineligible 
     for employment by a child care provider; and
       ``(II) does not reveal any disqualifying crime or other 
     related information regarding the current or prospective 
     child care staff member.
       ``(ii) If a current or prospective child care staff member 
     is ineligible for employment by a child care provider due to 
     a background check described in subsection (a), the State 
     shall provide the results of the background check to the 
     current or prospective child care staff member as required 
     under subparagraph (A)(ii)(II) in a criminal background 
     report that includes information relating to each 
     disqualifying crime.
       ``(iii) A State--
       ``(I) may not publicly release or share the results of an 
     individual background check described in subsection (a); and
       ``(II) may include the results of background checks 
     described in subsection (a) in the development or 
     dissemination of local or statewide data relating to 
     background checks if the results are not individually 
     identifiable.
       ``(C)(i) The State shall provide for a process by which a 
     child care staff member (including a prospective child care 
     staff member) may appeal the results of a background check 
     required under subsection (a) to challenge the accuracy or 
     completeness of the information contained in the criminal 
     background report of the staff member.
       ``(ii) The State shall ensure that--
       ``(I) the appeals process is completed in a timely manner 
     for each child care staff member;
       ``(II) each child care staff member is given notice of the 
     opportunity to appeal; and
       ``(III) each child care staff member who wishes to 
     challenge the accuracy or completeness of the information in 
     the criminal background report of the child care staff member 
     is given instructions about how to complete the appeals 
     process.
       ``(D)(i) The State may allow for a review process through 
     which the State may determine that a child care staff member 
     (including a prospective child care staff member) 
     disqualified for a crime specified in paragraph (3)(D)(ix) is 
     eligible for employment by a child care provider, 
     notwithstanding paragraph (3).
       ``(ii) The review process under this subparagraph shall be 
     consistent with title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 
     U.S.C. 2000e et seq.).
       ``(E) Nothing in this section shall be construed to create 
     a private right of action against a child care provider if 
     the child care provider is in compliance with this section.
       ``(F) This section shall apply to each State that receives 
     funding under the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act 
     of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 9858 et seq.).
       ``(6) Fees that the State may charge for the costs of 
     conducting a background check as required by subsection (a) 
     shall not exceed the actual costs to the State for the 
     administration of such background checks.
       ``(7) Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to 
     prevent a Federal agency from disqualifying an individual as 
     a child care staff member based on a conviction of the 
     individual for a crime not specifically listed in this 
     subsection that bears upon the fitness of an individual to 
     provide care for and have responsibility for the safety and 
     well-being of children.
       ``(8) In this subsection--
       ``(A) the term `child care provider' means an agency of the 
     Federal Government, or a unit of or contractor with the 
     Federal Government that is operating a facility, described in 
     subsection (a); and
       ``(B) the term `child care staff member' means an 
     individual who is hired, or seeks to be hired, by a child 
     care provider to be involved with the provision of child care 
     services, as described in subsection (a).''; and
       (5) by striking subsection (c) and inserting the following:
       ``(c) Suspension Pending Disposition of Criminal Case.--In 
     the case of an incident in which an individual has been 
     charged with an offense described in subsection (b)(3)(D) and 
     the charge has not yet been disposed of, an employer may 
     suspend an employee from having any contact with children 
     while on the job until the case is resolved.''.
       (c) Effective Date.--The amendments made by this section 
     shall take effect on October 1 of the second full fiscal year 
     after the date of enactment of this Act.

  Mr. HARKIN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that at 5:15 p.m., 
the Senate proceed to vote in relation to the following amendments in 
the order listed: Landrieu No. 2818; Landrieu-Grassley No. 2813; 
Landrieu-Blunt No. 2814; and Bennett-Isakson No. 2824; further, that no 
second-degree amendments be in order to any of these amendments prior 
to the votes.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. HARKIN. For the information of all Senators, it is our 
understanding that only one of these four amendments will be subject to 
a rollcall vote, Landrieu No. 2818, and the others will hopefully be 
done by voice votes at 5:15.


                 Unanimous Consent--Executive Calendar

  Mr. HARKIN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that upon 
disposition of the Bennet-Isakson amendment, the Senate proceed to 
executive session for consideration of the following nominations en 
bloc: Calendar Nos. 682, 617, 614, 545; that the Senate proceed to vote 
in the order listed without intervening action or debate on the 
nominations; the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon 
the table, with no intervening action or debate; that no further 
motions be in order; that any related statements be printed in the 
Record; that the President be immediately notified of the Senate's 
action and the Senate then resume legislative session.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from California.
  Mrs. BOXER. Mr. President, would the Senator yield 2 minutes?
  I thank the Senator from Iowa for his generosity spirit, and I rise 
in strong support of the bill.
  Since 1990 this important block grant has helped States provide 
vouchers to our low-income families to help them afford quality 
childcare programs. We all know how important that is.
  With over 70 percent of moms in today's workforce, it certainly is a 
critical issue for our children and their families and for our economy.
  I have been involved in this issue both when I was a young mom and 
now as an older grandmother. Childcare can be very expensive. The 
average low-income family spends over 32 percent of their income on 
childcare every month and about the same for their rent. They don't 
have much left over. It is very difficult. In California we have almost 
6 million children whose parents are working, and in our State we were 
able to help over 100,000 children through this very important program.
  I commend the sponsors of this bill, the HELP Committee, for the 
great work they have done. I have a couple of amendments, and I will 
finish in just a moment.
  Senator Burr and I have proposed amendment No. 2809, which simply 
ensures that all childcare programs on Federal facilities, such as 
military bases, conduct the same comprehensive background checks the 
bill already requires of childcare providers on State land. So it is 
like a little bit of an oversight that was left out.
  So we make sure if there is a childcare center on Federal lands--and, 
by the way, there are many--it is taken care of. Unfortunately, we have 
had experiences of all kinds of assaults on Federal lands, and I don't 
need to go into that.
  Amendment No. 2810 would help more parents afford quality childcare 
by increasing the child and dependent care tax credit from $3,000 to 
$6,000 per child, and making it refundable.
  I do hope we all support the underlying bill, and I thank the Senator 
from Iowa for his generosity.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The senior Senator from Iowa is recognized.
  Mr. GRASSLEY. I ask unanimous consent to speak as if in morning 
business.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. GRASSLEY. Mr. President, in the last few weeks I have come to the 
floor many times to speak about how the Senate has deteriorated from 
being the deliberative body it is supposed to be. Considering the 
comity on the floor on this bill under the direction of Senator Harkin, 
my colleague from Iowa, and other people, this is probably not the most 
appropriate time to give a speech like this. But we still have problems 
in the Senate and I wish to address them.
  We need to restore the Senate as a deliberative body. I am very 
concerned the Senate is no longer living up to its reputation as the 
``World's Greatest Deliberative Body.''
  I have outlined how the Senate ought to function by quoting at length 
the writings of the primary architect of the U.S. Constitution James 
Madison. When trying to understand what the authors of the Constitution 
intended the role of the Senate to be, we can't do any better than 
James Madison, the father of the Constitution.
  The writings of Madison, along with Hamilton and Jay, in the 
Federalist Papers comprise the most comprehensive and detailed 
explanation of what the framers of the Constitution intended. This 
provides an important and

[[Page S1564]]

very nonpartisan frame of reference about the role the Senate is 
supposed to play in our system of government. By going back to our 
founding document and first principles, we can rise above petty 
partisan squabbling and start working on how to restore the Senate as 
the deliberative body it is supposed to be.
  I will start by recapping some of the lessons from the Federalist 
Papers where the Senate has gone off course. Then I will talk about 
solutions to restore the Senate. I am introducing this solution today 
with cosponsorship of other Senators, which I will get to in a minute.
  In Federalist No. 62, this new creation of a Senate is being 
explained to the people of New York to convince them to ratify the 
Constitution. It tells of the lessons Americans learned in the first 
years of independence under the Articles of Confederation, which had a 
unicameral legislature, as did most of the States at that time. Based 
on lessons learned from practical experience then of these State 
legislatures, James Madison lists four problems that a republic such as 
ours could face if it doesn't have a properly functioning Senate.

  The first problem Madison recounts is a tendency for a group to form 
in a legislative body that pushes its own agenda as opposed to what the 
people elected them to do. Madison explains that having a second 
Chamber like a Senate makes such ``schemes of usurpation or perfidy'' 
less likely because they would have to capture both Chambers at the 
same time. The Senate, with longer staggered terms as the Constitution 
spells out, makes that even less likely.
  The second lesson is that a single-chamber legislature with lots of 
Members tends to ``yield to the impulse of sudden and violent passions 
and to be seduced by factious leaders into intemperate and pernicious 
resolutions.''
  If that sounds like the House of Representatives today, that is 
because it is supposed to work that way. The House is supposed to 
reflect the immediate passions of the day, even if those passions take 
on a partisan pen. However, when laws are made only by factious 
leaders, you end up with what Madison calls, ``intemperate and 
pernicious resolutions.''
  So that is where he says the function of the Senate as a deliberative 
body comes into play.
  Madison's third lesson has to do with a need for a body with longer 
terms that is serious about doing the hard work of legislating, instead 
of pushing short-term agendas, such as might be the case in a House of 
Representatives.
  To quote Madison:

       What indeed are all the repealing, explaining, and amending 
     laws, which fill and disgrace our voluminous codes, but so 
     many monuments of deficient wisdom; so many impeachments 
     exhibited by each succeeding against each preceding session; 
     so many admonitions to people, of the value of those aids 
     which may be expected from a well constituted senate?

  In other words, what Madison was saying: It is better to take the 
time to get it right the first time than to have to constantly go back 
and fix ill-conceived laws. That is what the Senate is composed to do 
under our Constitution, to make sure we do not get sudden changes or 
bad legislation out of the other body.
  In the fourth and final point, Madison explains that if a legislature 
is constantly churning out new laws, even if they are good ideas, it 
causes chaos because no one knows what the law says from day to day. It 
changes constantly, in other words.
  To this point Madison says: ``A continual change even of good 
measures is inconsistent with every rule of prudence and every prospect 
of success.''
  Madison also points out a problem caused by overactive legislating 
that we tend to think is unique in modern times; that is, special 
interest groups that are hired as lobbyists and lawyers. To quote 
Madison: ``Another effect of public instability is the unreasonable 
advantage it gives to the sagacious, the enterprising, and the moneyed 
few over the industrious and uniformed mass of the people.''
  That is a criticism we still hear today.
  Just to recap, the Senate was specifically written into our 
Constitution to solve certain problems; namely, but repetitively, to 
prevent an agenda that does not reflect that of the American people, to 
prevent legislation based upon short-term partisan passions, and to 
pass fewer but better thought-out laws. Of course, starting in 2007, we 
had a House and a Senate controlled by the same political party and 
intent on enacting the President's agenda, top of which was his health 
care law. The deliberative process was cut short and the legislation 
was rammed through the Senate over the objections of Senators 
representing 40 percent of the States. The President's health care law 
is practically the poster child for what Madison called ``intemperate 
and pernicious resolutions,'' reflecting a partisan agenda that did not 
enjoy broad support among the American people when it was passed. You 
know what. It enjoys less support today.
  The fact that Congress didn't take the time to think through every 
aspect of that important health care legislation and work out a 
consensus that could attract broad support of the Senate has resulted 
in the need of a series of, as Madison said, ``repealing, explaining 
and amending laws.''
  Of course, the President claimed for himself the authority to 
unilaterally suspend or amend parts of the law that aren't working 
rather than come back to Congress that under the Constitution is 
supposed to be the legislative body. Of course, what the President is 
doing now is not what the authors of the Constitution intended either. 
We wouldn't be in this predicament, with a deeply flawed health care 
law, if the Senate had been allowed to function as it was intended.
  Now with neither party today having 60 votes needed to steamroll 
Members of the minority party, the Senate should go back to functioning 
as it was intended. Yet that hasn't happened. Instead we have seen an 
unprecedented abuse of Senate rules to block Senators from 
participating in the deliberative process. These abuses of Senate rules 
threaten to fundamentally transform the Senate from the greatest 
deliberative body in the world into a purely partisan rubberstamp for 
the agenda of the majority and its leadership. If we allow that to 
happen, we will see even more of the problems Madison warned about.
  The Senate was intended to be a deliberative body and only functions 
properly when deliberation is allowed. That means we must have debate 
and amendments.
  I hear frequent complaints from Iowans about Congress passing huge 
bills without Members of Congress having the opportunity to understand 
all the provisions, much less the people they are supposed to represent 
having a chance to understand the bills and to weigh in on them. It is 
now routine for cloture to be filed immediately upon bringing up a 
matter for consideration. That is not the deliberative process or how 
the Senate is supposed to operate.
  Cloture was invented to allow the Senate to end consideration of a 
matter after the preponderance of Senators had concluded it had 
received sufficient consideration. Even that part was a compromise. 
Before cloture was invented, there was no way to end debate as long as 
at least one Senator thought a matter needed further consideration.
  Cloture was introduced to balance the desire to get things done with 
the principle that each Senator, as a representative of his or her 
State, has a right to participate fully in that legislative process. 
The threshold was later adjusted down from two-thirds of Senators 
voting to three-fifths of all Senators. That is the famous 60 votes we 
have to have if we want to end debate. Each time this matter has been 
revisited, the balance has tilted more in favor of speeding up the 
process at the expense of allowing Senators to fully represent the 
people of their States.

  At the beginning of the current Congress, the Senate passed changes 
to the Senate rules to shorten the amount of debate time after cloture 
is invoked for certain nominees and to expedite consideration of 
legislation in some situations. These changes were agreed to in 
exchange for a promise--a real promise--that the so-called nuclear 
option would not be used.
  Notwithstanding that commitment, just a short 10 months later, the 
nuclear option was used, setting a new precedent that debate on 
nominations can be cut off by a simple majority of Senators, ignoring 
the plain text of the cloture rule that is still on the books.
  At the end of the day, Members of this body agreed to extinguish 
certain rights in exchange for the promise not

[[Page S1565]]

to use the nuclear option only to have additional rights stripped away 
10 months later by a simple majority vote. Taken together, those two 
episodes represent a dramatic shift toward domination of the Senate by 
one faction, contrary to Madison's stated intent.
  I say all that by way of background, but that is history and the 
other side will have to learn to live with the ramifications of changes 
to the nomination process that they forced upon this body.
  I would like to turn the focus now to the legislative process and 
what can be done to restore the Senate to the role envisioned by the 
authors of the Constitution before it is too late and the idea that I 
have and some of my colleagues have joined me in a rule change along 
this line.
  When it comes to legislating, we have gotten off track from how the 
Senate was designed, but we have an opportunity to restore the Senate 
as a deliberative body. That was an understanding at the beginning of 
this Congress, that there would be some return to regular order. In 
exchange for rule changes that expedite the legislative process, the 
majority leadership would turn to the longstanding tradition of an open 
amendment process.
  In other words, there was an understanding that the Senate would take 
its time to consider legislation and Senators from both sides would be 
free to propose amendments and have them voted on. That understanding 
lasted until Republicans submitted amendments that some on the other 
side were nervous to have to take a position on. It is no secret the 
majority leader has gone out of his way to keep Members of his caucus 
from having to take votes that may hurt them with the people back home.
  The Senate rules provide that any Senator may offer an amendment to a 
bill being considered. Therefore, in order to shield Members from 
having to take tough votes, the majority leader now routinely moves to 
shut down all consideration of a bill before amendments are considered.
  As I said at the beginning, maybe today isn't the time to give this 
speech because we have great comity on the bills before the Senate, but 
we still have a major problem.
  Cloture is supposed to be used after the Senate has considered a 
measure for a period of time and a preponderance of the Senate think it 
has deliberated enough. Cloture should not be used to prevent any 
meaningful deliberation from taking place. The average number of 
cloture motions filed under each session of the Congress under this 
majority leadership is more than double what it was in prior sessions 
of Congress under majority leaders of both parties going back to 1987. 
This alone is an indication that cloture is being overused, even 
abused, by the majority.
  The majority leader will tell you he is forced to file cloture 
because of Republican filibusters. He might have a point if--and that 
is a big if--if it was true that after extensive debate and plenty of 
opportunity to consider amendments Republicans were dragging out debate 
purely for the sake of delay. However, we can hardly claim that the 
Senate's deliberation has dragged on too long when it hasn't even begun 
consideration of the matter in the first place.
  We are now at the point where the overwhelming number of motions to 
cut off debate are made before debate has even started, much less than 
in response to a filibuster because, obviously, we have to have debate 
before we have a filibuster.
  Let's look at a chart I have that was put together by the 
Congressional Research Service on cloture motions in relationship to 
legislative business filed the same day a matter is brought before the 
Senate--in other words, before debate starts--because we have to have 
debate before we have a filibuster.
  I have color-coded each Congress based on which party controlled the 
Senate. You will notice that use of same-day cloture averages out to 29 
times per Congress up until the 110th Congress when this majority 
leadership takes over. Then there is a huge jump to 98 same-day cloture 
motions. That is more than three times the previous average. You will 
notice a trend toward slightly more use of same-day clotures in the 
years leading up to 2007 and, of course, that makes both parties 
guilty.
  You can see an unprecedented use of same-day clotures starting when 
this majority leadership took over. The trend has continued at more 
than double the previous average in each Congress since this majority 
leadership took over.
  There were 65 same-day cloture motions in the 111th Congress and 67 
in the 112th Congress compared to 29 the last time Republicans 
controlled the Senate, which coincidentally is also the previous 
average I have talked about.
  The last line on the chart shows the total as of January, when we 
were only halfway through the current Congress. At that time we were 
already up to 30 same-day cloture motions. That is more than we saw for 
the entire Congress the last time Republicans were in the majority. We 
are back to an unprecedented use of cloture to end deliberations before 
deliberations have even begun, and that is clearly abusive and cannot 
be justified.
  Some people might argue that same-day cloture motions on the motion 
to proceed should not be counted because the motion to proceed can't be 
amended. That is debatable, but I will point out that the last column 
shows same-day cloture filings excluding the motion to proceed, and the 
trend is exactly the same.
  What do we do about this abuse of cloture to end consideration of a 
bill before it has been considered? Today I am introducing the Stop 
Cloture Abuse Resolution. That appropriately spells out the acronym 
SCAR because cloture abuse threatens to scar the body of the Senate. 
The Stop Cloture Abuse Resolution will amend Senate rules to prohibit 
the filing of cloture until at least 24 hours after the Senate has 
proceeded to the matter. That means you will have debate before you 
file cloture. Debate could be a filibuster, but you have to have debate 
to have a filibuster. This reform will end, once and for all, the 
practice of attempting to shut down debate and amendments before the 
debate has started.
  It is important to keep in mind that when Senators are blocked from 
participating in the legislative process, the people they represent are 
disenfranchised. By that I don't mean the citizens of the 45 States who 
elected Republicans. The citizens of States who elected Democratic 
Senators also expect their Senators to offer amendments and engage with 
their colleagues and different parties. Forcing a cloture vote before 
any deliberation prevents even Members of the majority party from 
offering amendments that may be important to the people they represent. 
Voters have a right to expect the people they elect to actually do the 
hard work of legislating, not just be a rubberstamp for the 
leadership's agenda.
  Senators who go along with the tactics that disenfranchise their own 
constituents should have to explain to those who voted them into office 
why they are not willing to be full-fledged Senators. The Senate is the 
world's most deliberative body, and constituents rightfully expect 
their Senators to be able to vote. They should explain why their 
loyalty is to party leadership and not to the people of their State.
  A Senator's job includes offering amendments. Being a Senator also 
means sometimes you have to take tough votes on other Senators' 
amendments that reveal to your constituents where you stand on various 
issues. It is the job of Senators, quite plainly, to deliberate and to 
legislate.
  The Stop Cloture Abuse Resolution will make it clear that 
deliberation is the rule, not disenfranchisement. It would establish 
that a deliberative process is expected, and at least some deliberation 
must occur before any attempt to silence the voices of Senators and by 
extension the voices of the people of their respective States.
  This is just one reform idea I am proposing for the Senate to 
consider as we work to restore the Senate as a deliberative body, and 
that will be introduced today. It would only address, I have to admit, 
part of the problem. The Senate will also have to address the abuse of 
filling the tree to block amendments.
  The ability to block Senators from offering amendments is actually 
not found in the Senate rules. Filling the tree is an abuse of Senate 
precedents. In some ways that makes it the easier problem to address; 
whereas, a cloture

[[Page S1566]]

abuse is an abuse of the Senate cloture rule. The practice of filling 
the tree to block amendments can be eliminated simply by establishing a 
new precedent.
  As everyone remembers from the nuclear option, establishing a new 
precedent is a simple process that only requires a majority vote. 
However, like the nuclear option which established a precedent that the 
Senate would ignore, the plain text of a rule is still on the books. 
Ending the ability of a majority leader to block amendments would 
simply involve replacing the old precedent with a new precedent.
  For now, the Stop Cloture Abuse Resolution--going by the acronym 
SCAR--would be a good start. It would eliminate the scar on the Senate. 
Adopting the Stop Cloture Abuse Resolution would send a strong message 
that the Senate will once again deliberate over issues rather than 
ramming through all of them without careful consideration.
  This reform will reduce the urge to force legislation through the 
Senate based on a short-term partisan agenda and result in fewer but 
better laws just as James Madison and the other Framers of the 
Constitution intended. Amending the Senate rules should not be a last 
resort, and this move should not be necessary.
  We have been told the bipartisan child care and development block 
grant bill will be considered--and is being considered--under an open 
amendment process. If that happens, and if that marks the beginning of 
a return to regular order where all Senators are allowed to represent 
their States to the best of their ability once again, then perhaps this 
move will not be necessary.
  Given the record of the past three Congresses, I don't think anybody 
should hold their breath on that happening.
  It is a good day in the U.S. Senate that this legislation is being 
considered under the process the Senate was set up to perform--to 
deliberate, offer amendments, and debate.
  If a fully open amendment process is not permitted after all, and if 
this rare instance of bipartisanship proves to be an exception to the 
rule, it will prove that the Senate is fundamentally broken and only 
significant reforms, such as the Stop Cloture Abuse Resolution, can 
restore the Senate as the world's greatest deliberative body.
  I yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. SCOTT. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.


                           Amendment No. 2837

  Mr. SCOTT. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to set aside the 
pending amendment so I may call up my amendment numbered 2837, which is 
at the desk.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The clerk will report the amendment.
  The legislative clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from South Carolina [Mr. Scott], for himself 
     and Ms. Landrieu, proposes an amendment numbered 2837.

  Mr. SCOTT. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the reading of 
the amendment be dispensed with.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The amendment is as follows:

  (Purpose: To clarify parental rights to use child care certificates)

       On page 140, between lines 2 and 3, insert the following:

     SEC. 10A. PARENTAL RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES.

       Section 658Q of the Child Care and Development Block Grant 
     Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 9858o) is amended--
       (1) by inserting before ``Nothing'' the following:
       ``(a) In General.--''; and
       (2) by adding at the end the following:
       ``(b) Parental Rights to Use Child Care Certificates.--
     Nothing in this subchapter shall be construed in a manner--
       ``(1) to favor or promote the use of grants and contracts 
     for the receipt of child care services under this subchapter 
     over the use of child care certificates; or
       ``(2) to disfavor or discourage the use of such 
     certificates for the purchase of child care services, 
     including those services provided by private or nonprofit 
     entities, such as faith-based providers.''.

  Mr. SCOTT. Mr. President, I offer amendment No. 2837 to S. 2086, the 
Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014. My amendment seeks 
to clarify that the statute does not favor or promote the use of grants 
or contracts over the use of childcare certificates, nor does it 
adversely impact the use of certificates in faith-based or other 
settings.
  What we are talking about today boils down to parental choice and 
State flexibility--two issues the Federal Government should be thinking 
a lot harder about on a constant basis.
  I ask my colleagues to support my bipartisan amendment to ensure low-
income working parents have a choice and that States have the 
flexibility they need to find the childcare that best suits their 
child.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. WYDEN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. WYDEN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to speak as if in 
morning business for up to 20 minutes.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. WYDEN. Mr. President, I rise this afternoon to talk about the 
Medicare Program, which of course, is a lifeline--a guarantee for 50 
million older Americans. In particular what the Senate wants to do is 
make sure that those older people have access to primary care doctors, 
nurse practitioners, specialists, and other providers in their local 
communities because they provide critically needed care to our seniors 
day in and day out.
  Many of those seniors have no idea that by March 31--just a few weeks 
from now--Congress has to act on their behalf to preserve access to the 
care that seniors depend on. Suffice it to say those providers would 
much rather be delivering the care than waiting for this Congress to 
act.

  Now, fortunately, there is a roadmap for getting this done--getting 
good care to seniors not just for a short period of time but, I say to 
my colleagues, once and for all. And I wish to this afternoon urge my 
colleagues to seize this opportunity.
  Beginning my remarks, I declare I can take little credit for the 
opportunity before us. The path that got us here, that got us started 
in the effort to make the needed reforms to protect our seniors, is a 
direct result of the leadership of my friend and colleague Senator 
Orrin Hatch. Just as Senator Hatch has done so many times over the 
course of an illustrious career, he was key to forging a bipartisan 
solution to a challenging, longstanding problem.
  So what I would like to do in the beginning is to recognize that 
effort by Senator Hatch; my predecessor as chairman of the Finance 
Committee, Senator Baucus; House Ways and Means chairman Dave Camp; 
House Ways and Means Ranking Member Sander Levin; House Energy and 
Commerce chairman Fred Upton; and House Energy and Commerce Ranking 
Member Henry Waxman. The work they have been doing over the last few 
months is exceptional. In effect, they have given us the opportunity to 
take this flawed system of setting a kind of Medicare budget known as 
SGR--sustainable growth rate--they have given us the opportunity to 
repeal and replace this flawed system with one that I think is going to 
make a huge difference in the days ahead by pushing up the goal of 
good-quality affordable care and doing it in a bipartisan way. I hope 
these colleagues will take it as a compliment that the SGR bill now 
before the Senate incorporates all of that good bipartisan work they 
have been doing, along with the work that was done on the Senate 
Finance Committee.
  I see our colleague from North Carolina, who has contributed mightily 
to that effort, as well as, of course, the Presiding Officer of the 
Senate Senator Brown, who has been such an eloquent spokesperson, 
particularly for those without political power and political clout. I 
thank both of them for their efforts.
  To be specific, the legislation I introduced last night incorporates 
what those six Members agreed to--the six

[[Page S1567]]

Members I just named, the three Democrats and the three Republicans--in 
S. 2000. In effect, that legislation, along with the health extenders 
passed by the Senate Finance Committee in S. 1871, is essentially what 
we have the opportunity to move in the days ahead. Every single item in 
this bill has strong bipartisan support, and I hope we can all come 
together and with resounding bipartisan support get this bill passed 
before March 31.
  There are a variety of reasons why Democrats and Republicans, in my 
view, can band together and repeal and replace what I have 
characterized as a flawed, really dysfunctional system we have today 
known as the SGR, but before I go through the list of reasons, I wish 
to make clear to my colleagues--colleagues who know me--that I am 
interested in sound, sensible policy and that we move in a bipartisan 
way--not politics, not message, but sound policy.
  That is why I am here on the floor today. I have always tried to make 
it possible for both sides to secure their principles--principles that 
are important to them--and still allow us to go forward in a bipartisan 
and innovative fashion to get things done.
  I will say to my colleagues, it is not possible any longer to just 
put one patch or another up and say we are going to fix the Medicare 
challenge. It is not going to work.
  For the last 10 years Congress has always blocked these cuts. So I 
say it is time to stop pretending these upcoming cuts--fittingly 
scheduled for April Fools' Day--are any more real than the 16 times the 
Congress has intervened. What we ought to do, I say to my colleagues, 
is stop playing Medicare make believe. It is time to set aside a flawed 
formula that prevents the Congress from really moving ahead 
constructively on Medicare and to start with a clean slate.
  I thought the Wall Street Journal editors really summed it up very 
well on February 19. In talking about the bipartisan bill I laud 
tonight, the editors of the Wall Street Journal said: ``Simply pass the 
bill as is and forgo the pretense of fake-paying for it.'' We need to 
think about those words. The editors of the Wall Street Journal 
basically said this is all a bunch of fakery because the cuts aren't 
going to be made, the savings aren't going to be realized, because we 
have tried that route. So the Wall Street Journal said pass this good 
bipartisan bill.
  If the Congress fails to fully repeal the flawed Medicare payment 
formula now, I believe there will be cuts to other providers--
hospitals, home health care providers, drug companies, skilled nursing 
facilities. Make no mistake about it. Those providers are going to be 
the ones who pay for yet another patch. So a lot of this budget fakery 
isn't real, but the people who are going to pay for the patch are going 
to face very real cuts.
  In total, the 16 bandaid patches have already cost $150 billion. That 
is the same cost as fully repealing and replacing the flawed SGR plus 
taking care of the health extenders. Those cuts, as I have indicated, 
have largely been paid for in the past by cuts to other providers. In 
the last 2 years alone, the hospitals have been forced to produce 
nearly $30 billion to pay for the temporary patches.
  Under the status quo, the SGR will always call for cuts that are too 
steep for providers to bear and Congress will step in with yet another 
patch paid for by still more cuts to other providers. How can we make a 
case for more of the same, especially when we have an opportunity to 
not only repeal the flawed formula but also to enact reforms that 
finally move Medicare away from the flawed fee-for-service approach 
that rewards quantity instead of quality and value?
  Second, I offered the Medicare SGR Repeal and Beneficiary Access 
Improvement Act of 2014 in order to eliminate the ongoing threat to our 
seniors and the providers who serve them. Under this legislation, which 
reflects the bipartisan, bicameral legislation Senator Hatch and 
Senator Baucus offered last month, physicians would receive annual 
payment increases of .5 percent for 5 years. The following 5 years 
physicians would not receive automatic increases but, rather, would be 
eligible for payment increases based on performance. Medicare would 
transition to a new focus--on greater equality, value, and 
accountability.
  This legislation would strengthen Medicare physician payments in a 
number of ways. It would reward the quality of care. It would improve 
payment accuracy. It would expand the coordination of care for patients 
with chronic care needs. It would encourage participation in 
alternative models of payment.
  The bill addresses other critical Medicare and Medicaid issues. They 
are known as health care extenders. With these extenders, it would be 
possible for the Congress on a bipartisan basis to ensure that low-
income seniors can have affordable Medicare premiums and guarantees 
that beneficiaries will have access to the therapies they need.
  Under the bill, rural beneficiaries will have the security of knowing 
the hospitals and physicians will be there when they need them. I know 
rural health care, for my friend from North Carolina, my friend from 
Iowa, and the Senator from Ohio, is a priority. If we pass this bill, 
which was put together by the bipartisan group in the House and Senate, 
we give a big boost for rural health care and the services seniors 
depend on under Medicare.
  Finally, something I am especially proud of because Senator Grassley 
was good enough to work with me for a number of years on it is this 
would significantly expand Medicare transparency. This legislation 
would open Medicare's treasure trove of payment data and patients would 
have the information they need to make informed choices about their 
care. Researchers and professionals will have the data needed to 
develop evidence-based methods. So this afternoon, in addition to 
thanking the colleagues I have already mentioned, I thank Senator 
Grassley for all of those years working with me. Senator Harkin knows 
Senator Grassley has been a strong advocate for transparency in health 
care and other vital services, and we see his good work in this bill.
  This bill is bipartisan. It doesn't cut providers or increase cost-
sharing for seniors. I defer to my colleagues to decide if it is better 
to offset the costs of SGR repeal by reducing future war spending or 
unpaid for, but the bottom line is the same: We ought to act now. We 
should act now and put this flawed formula known as the SGR, which has 
produced Medicare migraines for frustrated providers and seniors alike, 
behind us.
  Every single thing in the bill I offer today has strong bipartisan 
support, and it represents a compromise.
  I know this isn't an easy vote for colleagues on either side of the 
aisle, but I submit that it sure means we will be able to accomplish 
what we were sent here to do--to find a way to do what is best for 
seniors and the doctors who care for them. With that clean slate--and I 
have enjoyed talking to the Presiding Officer about this because I 
think what this bill is all about is doing what is right for seniors, 
doing what is right for the doctors, setting in place a plan for the 
future that ensures seniors are going to get better care that in many 
instances will cost less. That is what I hope Senators will take home 
after we break tomorrow for the work period.
  This is a chance to do what is best for seniors, what is best for 
doctors, and what is going to pay off for taxpayers in the long run.
  Nobody wins with Medicare make believe. After these 16 patches, when 
we have the Wall Street Journal editors joining with seniors and 
providers and we have a bill that has strong bipartisan support, I 
think this is the kind of measure Senators ought to flock to.
  I will close by saying we all know the public is frustrated with a 
fair amount of what happens in the Congress, and there is a fair level 
of disappointment. The Senator from North Carolina and I were talking 
about a variety of issues on this point this morning. But I look around 
this Chamber and I see Senators who have spent a significant amount of 
time in public life, and a number of colleagues who are on the floor, I 
am old enough to remember joining them in the other body before we came 
to the Senate, and we are here for a purpose. We are here to get things 
done. On this Medicare issue, which suffice it to say has been one of 
the most polarizing in the American public debate--in fact, I would 
venture to say that on the domestic side of the budget, there are few 
issues that have been

[[Page S1568]]

as divisive and polarizing as Medicare--this is an opportunity, 
colleagues, to check the partisanship at the door, come together, and 
set in place a new system of paying providers under Medicare that is 
going to produce better quality at lower costs. We ought to support it 
in a bipartisan manner.

  With that, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Blumenthal). The Senator from North 
Carolina.


                           Amendment No. 2821

  Mr. BURR. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to call up Lee 
amendment No. 2821.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The clerk will report.
  The legislative clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from North Carolina [Mr. Burr] for Mr. Lee, 
     proposes an amendment numbered 2821.

  Mr. BURR. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that reading of the 
amendment be dispensed with.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The amendment is as follows:

(Purpose: To prohibit States from providing the Secretary with reports 
            containing personally identifiable information)

       On page 136, between lines 2 and 3, insert the following:
       (e) Protection of Information.--Section 658K(a)(1) of the 
     Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 
     9858i(a)(1)) is amended by adding at the end the following:
       ``(D) Prohibition.--Reports submitted to the Secretary 
     under subparagraph (C) shall not contain individually 
     identifiable information.''.


                    Amendment No. 2821, as Modified

  Mr. BURR. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the amendment 
be modified with the technical correction which is at the desk.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection to the modification?
  Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The amendment, as modified, is as follows:

       On page 136, between lines 2 and 3, insert the following:
       (e) Protection of Information.--Section 658K(a)(1) of the 
     Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 
     9858i(a)(1)) is amended by adding at the end the following:
       ``(E) Prohibition.--Reports submitted to the Secretary 
     under subparagraph (C) shall not contain individually 
     identifiable information.''.

  Mr. BURR. Mr. President, I believe this amendment is agreeable on 
both sides, and I know of no further debate on the amendment. I would 
ask for the question.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there further debate?
  If not, the question is on agreeing to the amendment, as modified.
  The amendment (No. 2821), as modified, was agreed to.
  Mr. BURR. I thank the Presiding Officer and yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Ohio.
  Mr. BROWN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to speak as in 
morning business for up to 5 minutes.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. BROWN. Mr. President, I rise today to discuss one of the most 
concerning issues our country faces today, an issue that Chairman 
Harkin particularly has been outspoken on, and that is the growing 
retirement crisis.
  A couple weeks ago I chaired in the Finance Committee the first 
congressional hearing on the MyRA retirement plan for low- and middle-
income workers that President Obama proposed in his 2014 State of the 
Union Address. We will explore some of the issues, especially the 
Harkin legislation, later. But I want to talk for a moment about that 
hearing.
  We know for many Americans, the traditional three-legged retirement 
system--Social Security, defined pension benefit, and personal 
retirement savings--that three-legged stool is simply no longer 
working. For many, two of those legs are gone, and the third leg--the 
Social Security monthly payment for low-income workers--is, frankly, 
way too short.
  We know that Social Security remains the safeguard of retirement 
security for working-class families. But, as I said, it was never meant 
to be the only method of saving for retirement.
  As we emerge from the greatest recession since the Great Depression, 
the private retirement system is not working.
  Over the last 30 years, the defined pension benefit has, for far too 
many people, disappeared. The new system of tax incentives for 401(k)s 
and IRAs only works if you are middle income, typically, or wealthier. 
The top fifth--the top quintile, if you will--of households hold three-
quarters of all 401(k) and IRA assets. The average worker nearing 
retirement--believe this--has $12,000 in savings.
  So the question our subcommittee asked was: What do we do?
  One point of bipartisan agreement is that Social Security works. 
Witnesses from Vanguard to senior advocates agree on that point. We 
heard testimony from the left and from the right, from the private 
sector and from the Treasury Department. Everyone agreed that for low-
income workers, Social Security is the most important and the most 
reliable way to guarantee a secure retirement. But it is not enough.
  An upper income worker, once receiving Social Security, may get as 
much as $2,000 or more a month in Social Security earned benefits, 
while a low-income worker, who is used to receiving $9 or $10 or $11 an 
hour or less--even though working as many as 25 or 30 years--may get 
less than $1,000 a month in Social Security. That is the only wealth, 
that is the only income, so often, those in the bottom half have.
  The only question, obviously, is whether the benefit is adequate. Too 
often it is not.
  Two-thirds of low-income families are at risk of not having enough 
income to maintain anything close to their standard of living in 
retirement. Expanding Social Security could be the difference between a 
modest retirement--an earned modest retirement--and living in poverty.
  The hearing discussed the administration's new MyRA accounts. 
``MyRA'' stands for ``my retirement account''--a play, obviously, on 
the words of the IRA, the individual retirement account. It represents 
a small but important first step. Access to tax preferenced retirement 
accounts must not be something workers receive when they cross the 
threshold into the middle class but a tool that helps them start their 
journey into the middle class.
  There is no easy fix to retirement savings. But in a system where we 
primarily administer our programs to encourage private retirement 
accounts through the Tax Code, we need to make sure the incentives are 
going to the people who need them.
  So what we are doing through the Tax Code, as Senator Cardin from 
Maryland, who has been a long-time advocate of stronger, better 
retirement security for seniors--and he attended our subcommittee 
hearing; he is a member of the Finance Committee--are the issues we 
need to work on.
  When President Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act, he said: 
``This law represents a cornerstone in a structure which is being 
built, but is by no means complete.''
  The same could be said, maybe even more so, for our retirement system 
today. That structure is still being built. It is up to this body to 
ensure that it is built, that it does not collapse in the meantime, and 
that we can bring more retirement security to far more Americans who 
have worked their entire work lives.
  Mr. President, I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. HARKIN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.


                       Vote on Amendment No. 2818

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the question is on 
agreeing to the Landrieu amendment No. 2818.
  Mr. HARKIN. I ask for the yeas and nays.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there a sufficient second?
  There is a sufficient second.
  The yeas and nays are ordered.
  The clerk will call the roll.
  The assistant legislative clerk called the roll.
  Mr. CORNYN. The following Senators are necessarily absent: the 
Senator from Florida (Mr. Rubio) and the Senator from Oklahoma (Mr. 
Coburn).

[[Page S1569]]

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Are there any other Senators in the Chamber 
desiring to vote?
  The result was announced--yeas 98, nays 0, as follows:

                      [Rollcall Vote No. 74 Leg.]

                                YEAS--98

     Alexander
     Ayotte
     Baldwin
     Barrasso
     Begich
     Bennet
     Blumenthal
     Blunt
     Booker
     Boozman
     Boxer
     Brown
     Burr
     Cantwell
     Cardin
     Carper
     Casey
     Chambliss
     Coats
     Cochran
     Collins
     Coons
     Corker
     Cornyn
     Crapo
     Cruz
     Donnelly
     Durbin
     Enzi
     Feinstein
     Fischer
     Flake
     Franken
     Gillibrand
     Graham
     Grassley
     Hagan
     Harkin
     Hatch
     Heinrich
     Heitkamp
     Heller
     Hirono
     Hoeven
     Inhofe
     Isakson
     Johanns
     Johnson (WI)
     Johnson (SD)
     Kaine
     King
     Kirk
     Klobuchar
     Landrieu
     Leahy
     Lee
     Levin
     Manchin
     Markey
     McCain
     McCaskill
     McConnell
     Menendez
     Merkley
     Mikulski
     Moran
     Murkowski
     Murphy
     Murray
     Nelson
     Paul
     Portman
     Pryor
     Reed
     Reid
     Risch
     Roberts
     Rockefeller
     Sanders
     Schatz
     Schumer
     Scott
     Sessions
     Shaheen
     Shelby
     Stabenow
     Tester
     Thune
     Toomey
     Udall (CO)
     Udall (NM)
     Vitter
     Walsh
     Warner
     Warren
     Whitehouse
     Wicker
     Wyden

                             NOT VOTING--2

     Coburn
     Rubio
      
  The amendment (No. 2818) was agreed to.
  Mr. HARKIN. I move to reconsider the vote.


                       Vote on Amendment No. 2813

  Mr. HARKIN. Mr. President, we have no objections to this amendment. 
We agree to it and urge its adoption.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The question is on agreeing to the Landrieu-
Grassley amendment No. 2813.
  The amendment (No. 2813) was agreed to.
  Mr. HARKIN. I move to reconsider the vote and to lay that motion on 
the table.
  The motion to lay on the table was agreed to.


                       Vote on Amendment No. 2814

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the question is on 
agreeing to the Landrieu-Blunt amendment No. 2814.
  The amendment (No. 2814) was agreed to.
  Mr. HARKIN. I move to reconsider the vote and to lay that motion on 
the table.
  The motion to lay on the table was agreed to.


                       Vote on Amendment No. 2824

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the question is on 
agreeing to the Bennet-Isakson amendment No. 2824.
  The amendment (No. 2824) was agreed to.
  Mr. HARKIN. I move to reconsider the vote and to lay that motion on 
the table.
  The motion to lay on the table was agreed to.

                          ____________________