Adoption Incentives Bill Stalled Until Fall (At Least)

After the House passed an adoption incentives bill by voice vote in late July, there was hope that the legislation, H.R. 4980, would be whisked through the Senate and make its way to the president’s desk for a signature while it was still relentlessly humid in Washington.

Now, it looks like that won’t happen until the fall…if it happens at all.

The bill was pre-negotiated by House and Senate leaders, and drastically changes the way adoption incentives work (click here to read how). It also requires states to start tracking failed adoptions, and to spend at least 30 percent of their incentive money on pre/post-adoption support.

Managers of the bill on the Senate side attempted to “hotline” the bill, which is a rapid-fire way to move non-controversial legislation. The check on that process is that any Senator can place a hold.

Unfortunately for proponents of the bill, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) hates the hotline process and frequently throws holds on bills routed in that fashion. It is often not personal; it’s a dispute with the process, although a memo sent to Youth Services Insider said Coburn did have some questions about offsets in the bill.

So that is that until September 5. The next step is either addressing any specific questions Coburn has, and get him to lift the hold, or push Senate leadership for a floor vote.

YSI is well removed from the inner machinations of the Senate, but it surprised us that this didn’t come up for a floor vote in the first place. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) is indisputably the alpha dog on this legislation, and we had heard he wanted to speak on the floor about it.

Youth Services Insider is mostly written by Chronicle Editor-in-Chief John Kelly.

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