Rep. Nancy Johnson's child-care legislation would help fund the day-care needs of low-income parents without adding to the federal deficit. Despite much rhetoric about the need to better regulate day care, Helen Blank's commentary {op-ed, July 15} failed to address this main point.

As The Post observed in an editorial {June 20}, the issues are access to quality child care, help for the working poor and the cost to taxpayers. That's why Rep. Johnson seeks to end the day-care subsidy given to families earning even $200,000 a year and direct the money saved to lower-income families.

In addition, her bill sets minimum nationwide standards for child care, including training in child development, which only 10 states currently employ. It also mandates outreach to "underground" family day-care providers and guidance for parents seeking quality child care.

Focusing only on the regulation issue, as Helen Blank did, ignores these important provisions and the reality that most families depend on providers who are unregulated, despite laws requiring otherwise. In fact, most children are cared for in home environments, 70 to 90 percent of which operate outside of any regulatory system.

The regulatory system Helen Blank is so bent on defending is not working for either families or providers. Families have trouble finding day care (no news there), and providers stay underground because it is easier to function informally. Rep. Johnson's bill seeks to change this by requiring providers to register immediately with state offices in order to receive day-care subsidies provided to low-income families.

The Post is not alone in recognizing the value of this legislation. Columnist William Raspberry earlier called the bill "day care magic." Business Week said the Johnson plan is "a sensible approach that deserves the bipartisan support it has won."

We strongly support this legislation and will work in Congress to see it becomes law. It is innovative and pragmatic and will provide child-care assistance to the working families who need it most.


U.S. Representative (R-Ill.)


U.S. Representative (R-Pa.)