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Senate Vote: 77     Vote Date: Mar 13th, 2014

Issue:  S. 1086 Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014. A bill to reauthorize and improve the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 1990, and for other purposes. Sponsor: Barbara A. Mikulski.

Result:  Passed Senate with an amendment, 96 to 2, 2 not voting. GOP and Democrat selected vote.

From Congressional Research Service Summary:  Revises and expands plan requirements to include, among others, compliance with state and local health and safety requirements, compliance with child abuse reporting requirements, protection for working parents, and coordination with other programs. Prescribes early learning and developmental guidelines….

Requires a state receiving funds under such Act to carry out at least two of specified activities affecting the quality of child care….

Directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to operate a national toll-free hotline and website. Defines “child with a disability” as one under age 13 who is eligible for early intervention services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

Analysis: This reauthorization measure provides a clear example of unconstitutional federal overreach that has been accepted by members of both parties.   The federal government has no authority to meddle in state functions regarding child care, child abuse, “protection for working parents,” or education. In fact, there is no constitutional basis for the federal department of Health and Human Services.

The overreach is far from benign. There are serious short-term and long-term consequences.   For example, we see in the above summary the principle that the federal government will try to control that which it funds. With its ability to run huge deficits, the federal government is acting to turn the states into its administrative agents, taking direction from an often destructive, collectivist-minded federal bureaucracy.

It is distressing that most politicians in both parties would continue to accept this overreach and that their constituents would allow them to do so.

Many politicians will posture as providing leadership to solve virtually any problem, whether or not they have any authority to do so.   Constitutional limits are simply ignored.   For example, Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) supported the measure on the Senate floor:

“Child care 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 child care. The support provided by this program enables parents to obtain needed care for their children while working or improving their own skills and education.

“Twenty-six hundred children from 1,800 families in Maine received federal child care subsidies through the CCDBG program. Particularly during these difficult economic times, this program goes a long way in helping families in Maine and across the country.”

In a press release issued following Senate passage, the Senator’s office stated:

“The bill also includes provisions from legislation Senator Collins authored and introduced last fall, the Child Care Infant Mortality Prevent Act, which is intended to prevent Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID) by increasing provider training in sleep practices, first aid, and CPR.”

         Nineteenth-century French statesman Frederic Bastiat wrote that governments seek to increase their power by “creating the poison and the antidote in the same laboratory” — that is, by using government resources to exacerbate problems, which can then be used to justify statist “solutions.”

A major reason why both parents with children often work in today’s society is the economic burden placed on families and the economy by the “caring” federal monster, bloated with unconstitutional and misguided programs.

We have assigned (good vote) to the Nays and (bad vote) to the Yeas. (P = voted present; ? = not voting; blank = not listed on roll call.)