States courts that have received federal funds through memoranda of agreements with the child support enforcement agency could see a reduction or elimination of that funding.
State court leaders encourage Congress to enact legislation that would restore flexibility to states to fund their child support programs and allow the states to provide much-needed child support enforcement services.
The Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (PL 109-171) eliminated the practice of allowing state child support agencies to use their federal incentive payments as state match to draw down additional federal dollars. The provision was implemented effective 10/1/07. States that are unable to restructure their funding schema will see a significant reduction in their federal funding unless the prohibition is repealed.
On 3/6/07, the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Income Security and Family Support held a hearing on the impact of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005. Following the hearing, Subcommittee Chairman Jim McDermott (D-WA) introduced the Child Support Protection Act of 2007 (HR 1386) on 3/7/07 to repeal the provision that prohibited use of federal incentive funds paid to a state to be used as state match to draw down additional federal amounts for state child support enforcement expenditures. Senator John Rockefeller (D-WV) introduced the companion bill (S 803) also on 3/7/07. There are now 87 bi-partisan co-sponsors of HR 1386 and 32 bi-partisan co-sponsors of S 803.
A Congressional briefing on the issue was held on 7/13/07. Representative McDermott sponsored a second briefing targeted at House staff on 9/17/07. A copy of the recent CCJ/COSCA resolution in support of the legislation was distributed at the briefing.
GRO staff are participating in an informal coalition that has been formed to promote this legislation. The informal coalition continues to push the repeal legislation. A reserve was in both the Senate and House Budget Resolutions for full funding of the child support program. It does not resolve the problem as legislation is still needed, but it was a strong message to Congress. The coalition has also been pushing a temporary fix in the stimulus packages. The fix was not included in the first stimulus legislation. A temporary fix is currently included in the House draft of the second stimulus package. Under temporary fix, the prohibition related to incentive payments would be repealed for two year period.