Mr. GILMAN. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Chairman, this amendment is slightly changed from my original amendment, listed as Amendment No. 2 in the CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, and contains language clarifying the definition of an ``executive facility.''
Mr. Chairman, I rise today in support of the Gilman-Maloney-Morella amendment which seeks to close a loophole regarding the safety of child care in Federal facilities throughout our Nation. I would like to thank the gentlewoman from New York (Mrs. MALONEY) and the gentlewoman from Maryland (Mrs. MORELLA) for their support of this issue and their dedication to improving the quality of child care for all children.
Congress passed the Crime Control Act in 1990, including a provision calling for mandatory background checks for employees hired by a Federal agency. However, some agencies have interpreted that law in such a way that many child care employees are not subjected to background checks.
Currently, Federal employees across the Nation undergo, at the bare minimum, a computer check of their background which includes FBI, INTERPOL and State police records. However, some child care workers who enter these same buildings on a daily basis do not. Federal employees who use federally provided child care should feel confident that these child care providers have backgrounds free of abusive and violent behavior that would prevent them from working with our children.
Moreover, this amendment helps to ensure the overall safety of our Federal buildings. Child care workers step into Federal buildings each day and look after children of Federal employees. Without performing background checks, the children in day care, as well as the employees in Federal facilities, are exposing themselves to possible violent acts in the workplace. A child care worker, with a history of violent criminal behavior, has the opportunity to create a terrorist situation, the likes of
which have not been seen since the tragedy in Oklahoma City.
Child care providers working in Federal facilities throughout our Nation have somehow fallen through the cracks and have become exempt from undergoing a criminal history check. This amendment corrects that situation.
Mr. Chairman, I urge our colleagues to vote yes on the amendment.
Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the gentlewoman from New York (Mrs. MALONEY).
Mrs. MALONEY of New York. Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of the Gilman-Maloney-Morella amendment to provide criminal background checks for all Federal child care employees. I am very happy to join my colleagues, the gentleman from New York (Mr. GILMAN) and the gentlewoman from Maryland (Mrs. MORELLA), who have been consistent leaders on child care.
I am very pleased that last year a provision offered by the gentlewoman from Maryland has been extended that allows Federal agencies the option of assisting employees with child care expenses. I am very pleased to be a lead cosponsor of several bills introduced by the gentleman from New York (Mr. GILMAN) to expand affordable and available day care.
In 1990, Congress passed the Crime Control Act, which mandates that Federal employees undergo background checks. But because of a funding loophole, this provision does not apply to those who take care of our children in Federal day care facilities. Each day, millions of families around the country go to work and leave children in day care.
Everyone assumes that our children are safe. Everyone assumes that the child care workers have certain kinds of training and children will be protected. Everyone hopes for the best. But because of a current loophole in the law, the people who we trust with our children could be criminals. Child care workers in Federal facilities are contracted through Federal agencies, and therefore, not hired directly by a Federal agency.
This is a dangerous loophole, and we need to correct it. We should not have to worry about who is taking care of our children simply because agencies do not view their child care employees as government agents. Certainly those who care for our children should not be exempt from this law.
This bipartisan amendment makes it clear, criminals will be unable to work in Federal child care agencies. Programs involving children deserve to be 100 percent safe and secure. We must take precautions so that our children, the world's future, are being cared for by people we trust.
I urge my colleagues to support the Gilman-Maloney-Morella amendment. We need to know who is watching our children. It is important. I urge a yes vote.