Update from Capitol Hill – February 3, 2014

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. That measure, the International Child Support Recovery Improvement Act of 2013, contains the Hague Treaty provisions but is silent on the other issues contained in the Senate bill, including language resolving inconsistencies between the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) with the Full Faith and Credit for Child Support Orders Act (FFCCSOA); and, a section giving  tribes direct access to the Federal Parent Locator Service.

In other Capitol Hill developments, the federal debt limit is expected to be reached within the next few weeks. At this point, however, there appears to be no interest among most fiscal conservatives to block up an extension of borrowing authority. And, the Obama Administration has announced that it is delaying release of its FY 2015 budget and policy proposals until March 4, one month after it is due. The House and Senate budget committees will likely begin to craft their broad blueprints before then. Given the provisions in the omnibus, each chamber must adhere to a specific funding cap, so it is likely that the more important legislative action will occur in the appropriations subcommittees later in the year.

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