October 8, 2013
House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers spoke on the House floor today in support of H.J. Res. 84, the Head Start for Low-Income Children Act. The House passed this bill on a vote of 248-168.
The Chairman's statement follows:
"Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present H.J. Res. 84, the Head Start for Low-Income Children Act. This bill provides federal funding at the current, post-sequester rate for the Head Start Program – which millions of children across the country rely on to fulfill their educational and health needs.
"As we work our way out of this government shutdown mess, we shouldn’t let some of our most vulnerable citizens – low-income children with no recourse – suffer. In my home state, Kentucky, 20,715 kids rely on Head Start to provide a helping hand.
"If we don’t do anything about this today, 2,800 kids in Kentucky will lose access to Head Start starting November 1.
"This bill provides funding for Head Start at an annual rate of $7.586 billion. This funding will help reopen the doors to the more than 1,600 Head Start programs across the country. As before, the funding will last until December 15, or until we enact full-year appropriations.
"This is yet another step the House is taking to alleviate the burden of this current fiscal dilemma, and move us closer to ending this government shutdown.
"The nine bills the House has passed since October 1 to reopen the government – this will be the tenth – constitute nearly one-third of the federal government’s discretionary budget. These ten bills fund very critical programs – cleanly, as the Senate has demanded – and have been supported on a bipartisan basis in this House.
"So why are these bills still sitting on Harry Reid’s desk? Why is the Senate not making every stride they can to help our nation’s disadvantaged children, hungry families, and our veterans?
"This method of funding the government is not my preferred way forward – nor is it the standard. But while we work to find an end to this shutdown, we should fund those programs we can, as soon as we can.
"I hope that my colleagues in the Senate will take this opportunity to meet us at the negotiating table. We have a great deal to work out, but this can’t be done if we aren’t willing to talk and listen to each other.
"Though I wish we were able to end this government shutdown in its entirety, this bill will at least reopen one indispensable government program, and lessen the toll that this shutdown is taking on the American people. This Congress is facing a great deal of difficult choices in the near future, but taking care of our children should be a top priority.
"I urge my colleagues to support this bill today."