Last month key Republican leaders, including leaders from the House Ways and Means Committee and Senate Finance Committee, introduced legislation and tough language to restrict the Administration’s implementation of new regulations of state child support enforcement practices. S.1525 and H.R. 2688 would prohibit HHS (the Secretary) from issuing a final rule making changes to the child support program.
As a result leaders from the National Child Support Enforcement Association reached out to the key committees highlighting their recent comments and letter to Congress (sent in March) on how current regulations could be updated. In Responding to the new congressional legislation and criticism the organization said,
“NCSEA has many ideas on ways to strengthen and improve the child support program. …we do urge Congress and the Administration to find common ground on beneficial changes that can be implemented within the rulemaking authority of HHS and those that need to move forward with Congressional authorization. As a very effective federal program providing needed financial support to families and services to non-custodial parents to encourage that support, Democrats and Republicans alike have been strong proponents of child support over the years. In that same spirit, our non-partisan child support professionals stand ready to provide any assistance you may need.”
The letter from March highlighted several areas of agreement with the Administration in their notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) and they also had additional corrections or refinements. The comments to Office of Child Support Enforcement were provided in January.
The press release language accompanying the House and Senate legislation was very critical of the proposed regulations. Congressman Charles Boustany (R-LA) said, “This president thinks he can use his pen and phone to make sweeping policy changes without legislation, but it is Congress’ role to determine child support policy, not the administrations. The president’s rule could potentially let delinquent parents off the hook…”
On the Senate side Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) said,“While Attorney General of Texas, I fought to hold deadbeat parents responsible for paying the financial support their children deserve, and I am troubled to see President Obama go around Congress to undermine similar effort. This bill will stop the president’s unilateral action and ensure our child support laws protect innocent children and taxpayers, not absentee parents.”
A TANF reauthorization may also offer some common ground to the Administration and Congress.