July 15, 2021

Wyden-Thune Bill to Improve Child Support Enforcement for Native American Tribes Passes Senate

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and John Thune applauded the Senate for passing their bill this week to improve child support enforcement for Native American tribes by allowing the 60 tribes that operate their own child support agencies to access the Federal Tax Refund Offset Program to collect past-due child support from non-custodial parents.

The bipartisan legislation would also create parity between 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. The bill now heads to the U.S. House of Representatives for consideration.

“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 Wyden (D-OR), chair of the Senate Finance Committee. “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.”

“I’m grateful the Senate unanimously passed my bill to improve child support enforcement for Native American tribes,” said Thune (R-SD), ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee’s Subcommittee on Taxation and IRS Oversight“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.”

States have several enforcement methods at their disposal to enforce child support payments, including the Federal Tax Refund Offset Program. With this 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 agency for disbursement to the family.