Last Friday, a bipartisan, bicameral agreement was reached
to reform the Child Care & Development Block Grant Program.
Senator Mikulski and I have been working on reforming the program for
three years and introduced legislation in 2013, which passed the Senate
earlier this year.
The Child Care and Development Block
Grant Act (CCDBG) provides funds to states to help low-income families pay
for child care while a parent works or is in an educational or job
training program. The law has not been reauthorized since
When Senator Mikulski and I began working on CCDBG we
envisioned a program where kids could have safer environments to stay while
their parents worked, while making sure taxpayers did not continue to
subsidize providers who created unsafe settings and threatened their
well-being. It has been a long time coming, but I�m proud we have
reached this point. I am thankful for the work of my colleagues in
the Senate and the House who stood together to ensure the passage of
this legislation. This legislation will positively impact the
lives of millions of children and their parents. CCDBG passed the
House on Tuesday and will be brought to the Senate floor during the
lame duck session.
Read more about the Child Care &
Development Block Grant Program
Tuesday, Senator King and I introduced legislation to reform federal student
loan repayment programs. Current graduates face a maze of federal
student loan repayment programs from which to choose that often leave
students confused about which program best fits their needs. In
addition, years of ad hoc changes and expansions have done little to
ensure taxpayers are being best served.
The Repay Act, which
mirrors a discussion draft Senator King and I released earlier this year,
addresses these issues by consolidating many of the benefits of
current repayment programs into two plans: a fixed repayment plan, based on
a 10-year period, and a single, simplified income-driven repayment
Although more can be done to address the
deficiencies in our student loan programs, the Repay Act is a responsible step
in the right direction toward better fiscal management of our loan
programs that allows students to make well-informed decisions about
borrowing for college. I look forward to advocating for the Repay
Act�s inclusion in Higher Education Act as Congress continues to debate
Read more about the Repay Act
On Wednesday, the Senate Health, Education,
Labor, and Pensions Committee held a joint hearing with the Senate
Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related
Agencies Committee on Appropriations on the current Ebola virus outbreak,
which has been ravaging West Africa. We heard from a wide
variety of experts including a Director from the Center for Disease
Control, a Director from the National Institutes of Health, a Program Manager
from Sierra Leone, and the American Doctor who survived Ebola while
working in Monrovia, Liberia.
The Ebola outbreak in West
Africa is unprecedented � the world has never before seen an Ebola outbreak
take such a toll in terms of the number of infected cases and deaths,
or the human devastation sweeping across West Africa. The
United States has no choice but to lead the global response effort to
swiftly extinguish this epidemic and the threat it presents. It is in
our nation�s best interest to work with our international partners to
deploy all tools at our disposal to stop the spread of this horrible
virus and speed the development of medicines to prevent and treat it.
I am committed to making sure we do what it takes to defeat this
You can read each of the witnesses� opening
statements and watch the full committee hearing
This week, the Senate unanimously passed a resolution
introduced by Senator Boxer and I to honor the auxiliaries of Veterans
Service Organizations. More than one million Americans - wives,
widows, mothers, grandmothers, daughters and granddaughters of
veterans, as well as veterans themselves - are auxiliary members. They
have worked alongside veterans service organizations for close to a
century - volunteering hundreds of thousands of hours and raising
billions of dollars to support countless charitable causes. Auxiliary
units also conduct welcome home and send-off events for deployed
service members and strengthen their communities by conducting food drives,
visiting hospitals, providing scholarships and providing valuable
support at veterans facilities.
These women are the heart of our
nation's quiet but devoted network that provide support to veterans
and they should be recognized for their hard work and sacrifices.
Thank you for your service to our nation�s
Finally, last evening, the Senate vote on the CR, which included language
addressing ISIL. I voted in favor and must echo similar remarks
from last week�s newsletter -- for the better part of a year I�ve called
for action to curb ISIL�s inhumane and brutal terror campaign.
It is in our national interests to destroy ISIL and we should use all
appropriate tools to do so.