Update from Capitol Hill – July 13

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. While both houses have sent their bills to the floor, it is very likely that no more legislative action will occur until closer to the end of the session, given the annual controversial policy riders which would garner a presidential veto, including provisions prohibiting abortions and the elimination of the Affordable Care Act. Read a Senate summary of the spending bill here. The House summary may be read here. The link to the full House report is here.

NCSEA earlier this month submitted comments to the Office of Child Support Enforcement as it develops the National Child Support Strategic Plan. Enacted under the same law (P.L. 113-183) that authorized the implementation of the Hague Treaty provisions, the statutory provision was wide-ranging and encouraged HHS input to Congress on strategies and best practices to continue to improve the program. NCSEA’s comments included, but were not limited to: customer service; establishing right-sized orders; managing cases effectively; collecting support and building capacity. Read more here.

And, NCSEA awaits House Financial Services Committee action on H.R.2091 – the Child Support Assistance Act of 2015. Supported by the Association, the bipartisan 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. A mark up of the measure may occur this summer.

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