Bill to Improve Child Support Enforcement for Native American Tribes unanimously passes Senate

Thune, Johnson Comments

WASHINGTON — On Wednesday, the U.S. Senate passed a bill that aims to improve child support enforcement for Native American tribes by allowing the 60 tribes that currently operate their own child support agencies to access the Federal Tax Refund Offset Program to collect past-due child support from non-custodial parents.

“I’m grateful the Senate unanimously passed my bill to improve child support enforcement for Native American tribes,” said U.S. Senator John Thune (R-S.D.), the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee’s Subcommittee on Taxation and IRS Oversight who introduced the bill on Jan. 8, 2020. “Tribes in South Dakota that operate their own child support agencies should have access to the same programs and resources that state child support agencies have. Our legislation would help ensure that families in Indian Country can collect child support payments that are past due and help put tribal and state child support enforcement programs on equal footing.”

With the Federal Tax Refund Offset Program, if a non-custodial parent is set to receive a tax refund and owes past-due child support, the U.S. Department of the Treasury can withhold the refund and send it to the state child support of the disbursement to the family. Extending this program to the Native American tribes that operate their own child support agencies would crate parity between the tribes and states by allowing tribal child support agencies to obtain other identifiable information of non-custodial parents that can be used to enforce child support.

“It only makes sense that Tribes in Oregon and across the nation should have the same tools as state child support agencies, and with the passage of our Tribal Child Support Enforcement Act they are one important step closer,” said U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee who re-introduced the bill March 2, 2021. “Once this bill passes the House and is signed into law, tribal child support agencies everywhere can ensure that kids get the support they deserve.”

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