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House Passes Bipartisan Foster Care, Personal Privacy, and Trade Enforcement Legislation

January 18, 2024

Chairman Smith: “There is still more work to do to make a difference for workers, families, farmers, and small businesses – and that includes providing tax relief that strengthens Main Street businesses, boosts our competitiveness with China, and helps families struggling with today’s high prices.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – With overwhelming bipartisan support, the House of Representatives passed four Ways and Means bills that deliver on the Committee’s commitment to help working families, farmers, and small businesses. The legislation addresses the nation’s critical shortage of foster homes, makes it easier for parents to receive a new Social Security number for their child when that child’s number has been compromised, protects the data privacy of Americans that have been living abroad and are returning home – particularly members of America’s Armed Services – and creates a new position within U.S. Customs and Border Protection that will streamline operations to more effectively respond to global trade challenges and enforce our trade laws. 

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith (MO-08) released the following statement after House passage of these four bills:

“This legislation reflects this Congress’s commitment to solving real problems faced by real Americans. From helping find more loving homes for foster children to supporting parents trying to safeguard their child’s identity, protecting the data privacy of veterans coming back home to giving our country a leg up on trade enforcement, we are delivering win after win for working families. There is still more work to do to make a difference for workers, families, farmers, and small businesses – and that includes providing tax relief that strengthens Main Street businesses, boosts our competitiveness with China, and helps families struggling with today’s high prices.”

Recruiting Families Using Data Act
Introduced by Rep. Dan Kildee (D-MI) and Rep. Randy Feenstra (R-IA), H.R. 3058 helps states address the national shortage of foster families through data to provide safe homes for foster children.

  • Modifies the current diligent recruitment requirement by developing a “Family Partnership Plan” that asks states receiving Title IV-B funds to describe the processes for identifying, recruiting, and retaining foster and adoptive families, including using data to establish goals, assess needs, measure progress, and track permanency goals for children
  • Establishes the use of ongoing family advisory boards to improve the retention of foster and adoptive families.
  • Nearly every state struggles to recruit and retain qualified foster parents which has led to a nationwide shortage. A 2020 HHS review found that some states fell short of submitting recruitment information required under existing law and could use additional support in their recruitment efforts. 

The Social Security Child Protection Act of 2023
Introduced by Rep. Brad Wenstrup (OH-02) and Rep. Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), H.R. 3667 requires the Social Security Administration (SSA) to issue a new Social Security number (SSN) to children under the age of 14 when their SSN card has been compromised due to loss or theft in the mail.

  • Before the SSA will issue a new SSN, current SSA policy requires a number holder to not only show that their SSN has been misused by a third party, but also that this misuse caused actual harm or disadvantaged the number holder.
  • According to a recent report, roughly 1.25 million children were the victims of identity fraud in 2021.
  • Children are particularly vulnerable because they do not work, drive, or establish credit—thereby extending the time an identity thief can misuse a child’s SSN before being noticed.
  • The time between theft of an SSN and its misuse can be many years, and child victims of identity theft often learn of the theft—or are harmed from misuse— years after.

The Moving Americans Privacy Protection Act
Introduced by Rep. Michael Waltz (FL-06) and Rep. Bill Pascrell (NJ-09), H.R. 1568 requires U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to protect personally identifiable information on shipping manifests.

  • Bipartisan legislation that requires CBP to ensure that certain personally identifiable information (PII) is removed from any shipping manifest before CBP makes the manifest information available to the public.
  • Protects the privacy of American servicemembers, federal employees, private sector workers, and their families who are returning to the United States after living abroad. 
  • Personally identifiable information includes Social Security numbers, passport numbers, and home addresses. 
  • Currently, CBP is required by law to make certain commercial information contained on marine vessel shipping manifests available for public disclosure, unless an individual proactively requests CBP make the information confidential. There are often delays in processing these requests, and PII has been made public, despite requests to remove it.  

H.R. 5862 – Legislation to Help Customs and Border Protection Enforce American Trade Laws
Introduced by Rep. Michelle Steel (CA-45) and Rep. Jimmy Panetta (CA-19), the bill creates a new Global Trade Specialist position at U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

  • This bill creates a Global Trade Specialist position at CBP to ensure the agency is responding faster to combat trade cheats like China who try to exert an unfair economic advantage over American workers and undermine America’s trade laws.
  • The Global Trade Specialist position will replace six narrowly-defined functions that currently exist within CBP in order to better utilize existing CBP personnel.
  • A lack of flexibility within CBP is impeding the agency’s ability to stop foreign bad actors from breaking America’s trade laws and harming American workers. 
  • This realignment of CBP’s workforce will improve its effectiveness in enforcing U.S. trade laws, serving the needs of American workers, and safeguarding supply chains.