WASHINGTON, DC- Following the announcement that U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) was named to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, he released the following statement:
“The Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will be at the forefront of issues important to Pennsylvania and to me. I am pleased and honored to join the HELP Committee.
“Many of the issues that motivated me to run for the U.S. Senate and to pursue public service go through this committee. These issues include improving health care, increasing access to and quality of child care and expanding access to quality early childhood development and education as well as important jobs issues like protecting pensions and bolstering workforce development. My service on this committee will give Pennsylvania a voice on these issues that are vitally important for working families in our Commonwealth and the overall economy of Pennsylvania.
“The HELP Committee will handle a number of major pieces of legislation including health care reform, No Child Left Behind and many other issues important to working families.”
Two of the major bills introduced by Senator Casey in the 110th Congress -- on early childhood education and child care -- were referred to the HELP Committee.
Prepare All Kids Act – In order to expand access to early childhood education to ensure children enter school ready to learn, Senator Casey introduced the Prepare All Kids Act. The bill would assist states in providing at least one year of high quality pre-kindergarten programs to children. To highlight the importance of early childhood education, Senator Casey and Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) hosted a pre-k forum at the Center for American Progress in Washington moderated by John Podesta.
Starting Early, Starting Right Act – Senator Casey introduced the Starting Early, Starting Right Act to reverse chronic underfunding of child care and increase the availability of high-quality child care to children in low-income and working class families. This gross underfunding over the last seven years has left only one in seven eligible children receiving federal assistance and the national average wage for child care workers is barely above the poverty line. Senator Casey’s legislation has the endorsement of 50 national and Pennsylvania advocacy groups.