5:32 PM EST
Nancy Johnson, R-CT 6th

Mrs. JOHNSON of Connecticut. Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague, the gentleman from Florida (Mr. YOUNG), for yielding me this time.

Mr. Speaker, I came to the floor because I want to remind the Members, and I hope to remind the White House, that it is time that we wrap up our business. It is very important that we, as a body, deliver to the executive branch a plan for spending and for funding the priorities of the next year.

I wanted to remind my colleagues that while there is some debate about the exact level, it is a rather minor number of millions and billions that have to be dealt with; that, in fact, in this bill are many, many things that many of us have fought long and hard for. There is a big increase in funding for teacher quality. Now that we know more about the lack of certified teachers in many of our classrooms, the lack of subject matter preparation of many of our teachers, particularly in the inner

cities, it is really imperative that we pass a budget that puts that money out there so we can make some of the progress in public education that we know needs to be made.

In this bill is 575 million more dollars for after-school programs, and I would like to say that in my little town of Enfield, the Enfield after-school care program that provides after-school care for only at-risk children has already had 10 of its children referred to DT out of our children family agency for neglect. This will be the security of these children as they move through a difficult time in their families and hopefully be the difference between these children. These are K through 6

kids. These are not high school kids. Six of the kids have already been referred to a juvenile review board only in the first 3 months of the school year. These really are at-risk kids, and this wonderful program has given these kids stability, is helping them improve their school performance and will be their security and their ticket out of juvenile crime, under achievement, low self-esteem and catastrophic consequences.

Also in this legislation is a significant increase in the child care block grant. This body prided itself on passing welfare reform, but if we do not do things like we are doing this year, and this bill is $817 million more for those [Page: H12070]

very child care certificates that working women coming off of welfare depend upon, if we cannot provide child care subsidies to a woman coming off of welfare into a roughly minimum wage job or just above she is not going

to make it; not because she is not trying but because she has such heavy child care costs that she could not possibly make it on those entry level salaries.

So in this bill we are following through on many initiatives in human services, in education, that do, in fact, give our people the support and the opportunity, whether they are children or adults, that frankly this body has striven long and hard to create on a bipartisan basis.

So I would urge my colleagues to remember that in here is fuel assistance, a big increase for fuel assistance, going into a winter when we know things are going to be very tough; health care; education, and it is our responsibility to pass it.

I would also remind my colleagues that it is going to be well over the President's request, over anything this House passed, and so we have the ability to rationally agree on some modest reductions from one agreed-on level and get this bill to the President. I hope that we can get an agreement before he leaves for Ireland so by the time he gets back we will have it passed and his signature on it very promptly. We owe it to those people who work for our government so they can deliver consistent

quality service in a knowing, established context of supported funding.

I thank the gentlemen for their hard work on both sides of the aisle, and I ask that we move forward and this be the last CR we be asked to support because I will support it only reluctantly.