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Introduction of the International Child Support Recovery Improvement Act of 2013

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. REICHERT. Mr. Speaker, today I, along with Ranking Member DOGGETT and other Members of the Human Resources Subcommittee, introduce the International Child Support Recovery Improvement Act of 2013. This bill is nearly identical to H.R. 4282, which passed the House by voice vote on June 5, 2012, and serves as the implementing legislation for the Hague Convention on International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance. This multilateral treaty, to which the Senate provided its consent in 2010, provides for the structured exchange of information and consistent enforcement of international cases of child support.

The bill also builds on the Subcommittee's recent bipartisan efforts to standardize data within and across social programs. This includes applying to the child support enforcement program the same no-cost data standardization provision recently enacted in the child welfare, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and unemployment insurance programs.

The data provision is designed to recognize the need for standards in the exchange of data both across state-level programs and between states and the federal government. The goal is to better organize data within programs so that data can then be more easily shared across multiple human services programs that serve similar populations.

The data provision recognizes that multiple standards may well be needed to address different types of data exchanges, and that some data exchanges may already be standardized. It provides some authority to the Secretary of Health and Human Services to exercise some flexibility in situations where standardized systems are found to operate efficiently. Certain sectors, such as financial institutions, that interact with covered programs have well-established data exchange standards that need to be taken into account and should serve as the base for moving forward. In the case of child support, this data provision does not require that systems such as the Federal Parent Locator Service (FPLS) be retrofitted, but instead encourages incremental, cost-effective implementation of consistent data standards across human services programs.

I invite all Members to join me in supporting this important legislation and look forward to its speedy consideration. That way we can take the next step toward ratifying the Hague Convention so that more child support is collected in international cases, providing more children the financial support they deserve.

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