Three Murkowski Amendments Help to Alaskanize Child Care Block Grant Bill

Senator’s Bipartisan Amendments Improve National Legislation

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Lisa Murkowski today proudly cast her vote for S.1086, the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act – a critical bill that will improve how states and tribes use federal block grants to assist low-income parents who are working or going to school – which included three bipartisan amendments introduced by Murkowski to provide customized solutions for states like Alaska.

“This bill walks the fine line between asking states, tribes, and providers to take a 21st Century look at how they serve children with disabilities,” said Murkowski “and how they will address nutrition, fitness, health, and safety issues, while letting them continue to figure out the best way to achieve those goals.  That makes good sense.”

Murkowski was responsible for tailoring S.1086 to Alaska’s needs through these measures:

Murkowski/Franken Amendment– This amendment – which passed overwhelmingly yesterday 96-3 – provides tribes with an opportunity to receive additional support for the child care that is so desperately needed to help Native children get a good start and to help local economies and job seekers. 

Murkowski/Tester Amendment – This amendment passed unanimously today, and provides common-sense flexibility not currently in the law to Indian tribes or tribal organizations to temporarily suspend services if they are renovating their facility, as long as the construction or work will result in better services for more children.

Murkowski/Bennett Amendment – This amendment also passed unanimously, and would impact Alaska’s large federal workforce.  Presently, the federal law permits on site child care centers in federal agency facilities if half of the children have parents who work for the federal government.  However, it does not include children of post-doctorate researchers at federal facilities under its definition of ‘government employee.’  The Murkowski/Bennett amendment would broaden the law to cover the children of these vital contributors to the federal workforce in Alaska and potentially result in greater access to child care for more federal employees.

S. 1068 was crafted, over a year and a half, through bipartisan negotiations.  It was recommended to the full Senate by a unanimous vote of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee.  It passed today by a 97-1 vote and now heads to the House of Representatives.