NCSEA Legislative Updates and White Papers

2-23-2018 Update from Capitol Hill: Congress and the Administration Weigh in on Child Support Inserted at the last minute to help pay for a child welfare bill, the February 2018 federal spending bill contained a provision raising the annual child support fee from $25 to $35 for child support program participants who have never received Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits.  The threshold triggering the fee was also increased from the current $500 in collections to $550. SEA was not alone in being surprised at the move.

2-16-2017 Child Support CommuniQue (CSQ) Update – “Ability to Pay and Other Nuances – An Analysis of the OCSE Final Rule”: For those who truly enjoy conversations about child support policy, Santa Claus delivered an early present: on December 20, 2016, the long-awaited final federal rule was published. The 78 three-column pages of the Federal Register included OCSE’s response to 2,077 comments… [more] 

9-21-2016 Update from Capitol Hill: As September draws to a close, Congress is searching for compromises on policy riders to a short-term extension of current federal funding through December 9. In general, the so-called Continuing Resolution will continue funding for all federal programs at their current levels. Upon their post-election return in November, the lame duck congress will work to complete all 12 spending bills for federal fiscal year (FFY) 2017.

07-01-2016 Update from Capitol Hill: The House and Senate have recessed and return after Labor Day to work on the fiscal year 2017 spending bills. A lame duck session of uncertain scope and duration is anticipated after the elections. Earlier this summer, the House passed by voice vote a one-year extension (H.R. 5170) of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. Often the legislative vehicle for child support changes, TANF has not been reauthorized since 2010 and has operated on year-to-year extensions.

04-20-2016 Update from Capitol Hill: The House and Senate appropriations committees have begun marking up the federal fiscal year 2017 spending bills. Both houses have started with bills that are typically bipartisan in nature, including funding for energy and water and military construction projects. Given the annual battles over abortion and funding for the Affordable Care Act, Congress not finalize the Labor-Health and Human Services measure until late in the year.

12-22-2015 Update from Capitol Hill: Congress has passed a massive, $1.15 trillion spending package containing  funding for all federal programs through September 30, 2016. As expected, the measure did not contain a proposal to stop the Administration from issuing the child support notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM). Comments on the NPRM are still under review in the administration. The final bill does include a NCSEA-supported measure to permanently extend the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).

12-3-2015 Update from Capitol Hill: On December 3, the House and Senate passed a bill containing the NCSEA-supported Child Support  Assistance Act. The measure eliminates the Fair Credit Reporting Act requirement that a ten day notice be provided, via certified or registered mail, to a non-custodial parent that a consumer report will be requested to verify their income and place of employment. The bi-partisan provision was attached to the transportation reauthorization bill. The President signed the bill on Friday, December 4, 2015.

10-9-2015 Update from Capitol Hill: On October 6, the full House passed the Child Support Assistance Act (H.R. 2091) by voice vote. Sponsored by Representatives Bruce Poliquin (R-ME) and Keith Ellison (D-MN), the NCSEA-supported measure strikes a provision under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) which requires child support agencies to provide a 10-day notice to the obligor via certified or registered mail that a consumer report will be requested from a consumer reporting agency to confirm the location and income of that individual.

8-31-2015 Update from Capitol Hill: Congress remains in recess until September 8. When it returns, it must complete action on all 12 fiscal year 2016 appropriations measures. Given that there are no federal elections his fall, Congress will likely remain in session and delay final action on spending bills until late this year. The full House may consider the Child Support Assistance Act (H.R. 2091) under an expedited debate process, given that the bipartisan bill passed the House Financial Services Committee by a vote of 56-2 in July.

7-13-2015 Update from Capitol Hill: Congress is working through many of the fiscal year (FY) 2016 spending bills as it heads toward its traditional August recess. Both the Senate and House Appropriations Committees have completed action on their respective  Labor-Health and Human Services bills. Federal payments for the administration of the Child Support program are not subject to the appropriations process, so the Committees accepted the administration’s spending estimates and also included funding for the first quarter of FY 2017 to ensure timely payments. Most other human services programs are funded at current levels, with no major cuts slated.

6-8-2015 Update from Capitol Hill: NCSEA staff continue to meet with congressional offices to urge bipartisan support for the Child Support Assistance Act (HR 2091). The measure would streamline the administration of the program by removing the ten day notice child support agencies must give to a non-custodial parent before they request a consumer report detailing employment and wage information. This Fair Credit Reporting Act requirement is unique to child support and its targeted removal is receiving bipartisan support from many House Financial Services Committee members and staff.

5-7-2015 Update from Capitol Hill: Representatives Bruce Poliquin (R-ME) and Keith Ellison (D-MN) have introduced an NCSEA-supported bill (H.R. 2091) addressing the current administrative costs and delays resulting from the Fair Credit Reporting Act’s (FCRA) requirements placed on IV-D agencies which require them to give consumers at least 10 days’ prior notice before they request a consumer report from a third party verifier of employment. Given the fact that the TALX-Work Number was bought by a credit bureau and by virtue of that fact alone, the verifications became governed by FCRA and all the limits in that Act.

4-16-2015 Update from Capitol Hill: Congress returned from its spring break on April 13. Congress is will likely consider two major legislative items before the end of the month. Additionally, a bill affecting the child support program is expected to be introduced in the House.

2-3-2015 Obama Administration Releases Fiscal 2016 Budget Proposal: The Obama Administration this week sent its proposed federal fiscal year (FFY) 2016 budget to Congress. The Administration resubmitted its FFY 2015 child support proposals which were not enacted into law and added two new proposals to eliminate the Medicaid assignment of cash medical support requirement and to create a Child Support Research Fund.

1-16-2015 NCSEA Comments on NPRM: NCSEA submitted comments  on OCSEs proposed changes to child support regulations. NCSEA previously had vetted many of the issues addressed in the NPRM and we are pleased to see many of our initiatives included in the proposed rule. NCSEA’s comments also reflect thoughtful debate of issues not before considered. Read the comments here.

12-16-2014 Update from Capitol Hill: The 113th Congress will likely adjourn this week, with the House completing its activity and the Senate moving slowly through confirmations of presidential appointments. Last week, the House and Senate adopted a budget continuing funding of nearly all of the federal government through the reminder of federal fiscal year (FFY) 2015. Funding for health and human services programs was extended until the end of the FFY, including those administered by the Office of Child Support Enforcement.

11-17-2014 From the Federal Register: Notice of Proposed Rule Making: The long-awaited Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) was published on November 17. The NPRM proposes to make the child support program more flexible, effective and efficient. Comments on the proposal are due January 16, 2015. NCSEA will work with its leadership to provide comprehensive comments.

10-23-2014 OCSE Requests Input on Improving Child Support Program: On October 23, the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) issued a notice in the Federal Register requesting comments and analysis of the current effectiveness of the child support program and recommendations and options on how to enhance program operations. Due on December 22, 2014, OCSE requests comments on a wide variety of activities aimed at increasing payments to families and providing effective services to them, including the non-custodial parent.

10-2-2014 Statement from the Secretary of the State: President Obama Signs Implementing Legislation for the Hague Convention on the International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance. Full Press Statement available here.

9-19-2014 Update from Capitol Hill: Hours before recessing for the November elections, the Senate last night adopted by voice vote the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act (HR 4980). The bill contains child support provisions long-sought by NCSEA, including the implementing language for the Hague Treaty which would standardize and streamline the process of obtaining and enforcing child support orders across international boundaries.

8-4-2014 Update from Capitol HillCongress has recessed for the month of August and will return after Labor Day. Before leaving Washington, DC, the House adopted the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act (HR 4980) which contains a number of child support provisions long-sought by NCSEA. Everyone anticipated that the Senate would also pass it before recess, but regrettably Senator Coburn (OK) put a hold on it before recess.

6-30-2014 Update from Capitol HillBefore leaving for their July 4 recess, congressional leaders announced a bipartisan, bicameral agreement on child welfare, sex trafficking, adoption assistance and child support legislation.  The agreement combines and reconciles three bills that the House passed and three bills adopted by the Senate Finance Committee. The House is expected consider the measure first after the July 4th recess and the Senate would follow suit shortly thereafter. There would be no amendments to the bill.

6-2-2014 Update from Capitol Hill: As summer begins in Washington, D.C., Congress faces a long list of ‘must-pass’ legislation, including tackling all 13 spending bills for federal fiscal year 2015. The Labor, Health and Human Services and Education appropriations measure will likely be one of the last bills Congress will consider, but there is no likelihood of any federal shutdown this fall so close to the November elections. In the meantime, the Senate Finance Committee’s child support bill (S. 1877) still awaits floor action.

3-24-2014 Update from Capitol Hill: NCSEA has written to the Senate Finance Committee, expressing views on two sections of S. 1870, “Supporting At-Risk Children Act”.  The sections of the bill related to child support, concern the issues of passport denial and parenting time. The NCSEA Board of Directors approved the policy statement on S. 1870 at a special Board briefing and meeting, March 4, 2014.  The policy was approved by the Board unanimously. The letter to the Senate Finance Committee, as well as proposed amended language for the passport provision, is available on the NCSEA website.

3-3-2014 Update from Capitol Hill: This week, Congress is reviewing the Obama administration’s fiscal year 2015 budget proposal. The policy and spending proposals serve as a starting point for much of the legislative work for the rest of the year. The House Budget Committee is also likely to begin drafting its blueprint soon, while the Senate Budget Committee has announced that it will just adhere to the recent two-year agreement which has already set a top-line spending amount for next year. Given the separate paths already set by the House and Senate, the work of the actual appropriation committees will be the focus of much of the advocacy activity over the coming months.

2-3-2014 Update from Capitol Hill: The bipartisan Child Support Improvement and Work Promotion Act (S. 1877) continues to await floor action. Adopted by the Senate Finance Committee in December, the bill is among three human services-related bills that it adopted. None have made it to the floor yet, due to the press of other legislative business, including the farm bill reauthorization.  Once the Senate passes the bill, it would  clear the way for negotiations to begin with the House on their more narrow bipartisan bill (H.R.1896) adopted last June.

1-6-2014 Senate Advances Child Support Bill:  As Congress prepared to leave Washington for the holidays, the Senate Finance Committee considered and adopted a bipartisan bill containing changes to child welfare and child support programs. The Supporting At-Risk Children Act (S. 1870) (bill summary)  contains provisions long sought-after by NCSEA, including provisions language implementing the Hague Treaty, resolving inconsistencies between the  Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) with the Full Faith and Credit for Child Support Orders Act (FFCCSOA) and providing tribes with access to the Federal Parent Locator Service. Also included in the bill is a provision establishing a child support task force to prepare a report to Congress  identifying best practices and recommending improvements to the program’s effectiveness. NCSEA sent a letter to the Senate Finance Committee prior to the mark up expressing support for these provisions.

12-2-2013 Update from Capitol Hill: The House returned on December 2 and plans on adjourning for the year on December 13. Across the Hill, the Senate remains in recess and is slated to return next week, with an adjournment target of December 20. These different schedules leave only a few days when both bodies are in session to adopt legislation before the end of the year. There is little news on progress toward reaching a bipartisan agreement on a budget blueprint which would allocate pots of funding for the 12 appropriations subcommittees to use to make spending determinations for each program by January 15.

10-8-2013 Update from Capitol Hill: House Republicans and the Obama Administration remain stalemated over federal funding bills and the debt limit. No discussions are taking place on how to resolve the issues. It appears that, as of this writing, the federal government will remain shut down through the reminder of this week, with attention turning to the date of October 17 when the U.S. Treasury has said that it will not have enough money to pay all of its obligations. The shutdown has also affected many congressional offices, where many staff have been furloughed and hearings postponed.

8-19-2013 All Quiet on Capitol Hill: The House and Senate have begun their summer recess. Upon their return to Washington on September 9, they will have fewer than ten legislative days to agree upon a plan to continue funding all federal programs and operations before the new federal fiscal year begins on October 1. And, the House is likely to continue to grapple on whether and/or how to advance major bills the Senate adopted over the summer, including immigration reform and the farm bill.

6-20-2013 House Adopts Child Support Bill Implementing Hague Treaty: The House of Representatives adopted the International Child Support Recovery Act (H.R. 1896) on June 18. Adopted by a vote of 394-27, the bill would implement the Hague Convention Treaty to improve the enforcement of international child support cases. In a floor statement urging support for the legislation, House Ways and Means Human Resources Subcommittee Chairman Dave Reichert (R-WA) noted NCSEA’s support and inserted NCSEA’s letter of support into the Congressional Record.  The House adopted a similar measure one year ago. House members urged the Senate to consider the bill.

5-10-2013 House Re-Introduces Bill to Implement Hague Convention Treaty: Members of the House Ways and Means Committee have re-introduced the International Child Support Recovery Improvement Act (H.R. 1896). Supported by NCSEA which testified before the Committee in 2012, the bipartisan bill mirrors the measure that the House of Representatives adopted last year. The measure would implement the Hague Convention Treaty to improve the enforcement of international child support cases. Ways and Means staff have indicated to NCSEA that the timing for considering the bill has yet to be determined. Last year’s adoption of this bipartisan bill does indicate, however, that the measure has a very good chance of moving once again in the House.

4-17-2013 Update from Capitol Hill: Last week, the Obama Administration released its federal fiscal year 2014 budget proposals. NCSEA prepared a synopsis of the child support budget which may be found here. In short, the budget continues to support program activities and re-proposes reforms that were not considered by Congress last year.

3-6-2013 Update from Capitol Hill: On March 1, the across-the-board cuts to domestic discretionary programs were triggered. How long the cuts will remain in force is uncertain, and the immediate effects on any given program also are unclear, given the different spending and allocation patterns of federal programs. As an entitlement, the child support program is protected from the sequester, but other child support grants, federal staffing and associated federal travel may be affected, depending upon available resources and the duration of the sequester.

10-05-2012 Sequester Report Released:  The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released its report to Congress on the effect of the across-the-board cuts should Congress and the administration fail to craft an alternative deficit reduction package.

OMB determined that the child support enforcement (CSE) program would NOT be subject to the cuts. CSE joins other entitlements such as Medicaid, SNAP, IV-E, TANF, and SSI as programs protected from the cuts which will occur on January 2, 2013 if no agreement is reached on an alternative.

Each domestic program subject to sequester would be cut from 7.6% for mandatory programs not subject to the appropriations process (e.g., SSBG) to 8.2% for all other discretionary programs.

The determination was made in the OMB Report Pursuant to the Sequestration Transparency Act of 2012 (P. L. 112–155)

3-20-2012: NCSEA testifies at Subcommittee on Human Resources of the Committee on Ways and Means hearing on no-Cost improvements to child support enforcement

Testimony was delivered by NCSEA at today’s Subcommittee on Human Resources of the Committee on Ways and Means hearing.  During the hearing on no-cost improvements to the child support enforcement program (CSE), Kay Farley and Marilyn Stephen testified regarding implementation of the Hague Convention. Read more in the full press release and the hearing testimonies by Kay Farley and Marilyn Stephen.


Congressional Alerts and Calls to Action

Call to Action Child Support Cuts


White Papers

The Lewin Group Report on Anticipated Effects of the Deficit Reduction Act Provisions on Child Support Program Financing and Performance

The Lewin Group Report Summary