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Pact Reached on Child-Care Bills

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Washington--The House Rules Committee last week endorsed a procedural compromise that has the effect of diffusing a jurisdictional dispute over which version of a child-care package should be sent to the floor for a vote.

The Rules Committee upheld a decision by the Democratic leadership earlier last week to allow two versions of HR 3 to receive consideration. A dispute had broken out in recent weeks over which version of "the early-childhood education and development act" should be sent to the full House. (See Education Week, Sept. 13, 1989.)

One version of the bill, which was approved by the Education and Labor Committee, would support direct grants to child-care providers. Its chief backer is Representative Augustus F. Hawkins, Democrat of California and chairman of the panel.

The second version, which was adopted by the House Ways and Means Committee, would add child-care funds to existing block-grant programs for the states. Its major proponent is Representative Thomas J. Downey, the Democrat from New York who is the acting chairman of the tax-writing panel's human-resources subcommittee.

Both proposals would require states to set standards for child-care providers.

The House leadership agreed to let both proposals stand with the understanding that differences will have to be worked out in a House-Senate conference committee.

An amendment--proposed by Representative Charles W. Stenholm, Democrat of Texas--would incorporate the provisions of Representative Downey's proposal, but eliminate the requirement that states set child-care standards.

Representative Mickey Edwards, Republican of Oklahoma, is also expected to offer a subsititute bill.

A floor vote on the child-care package is expected this week.--pw

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