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Deadbeat Parents Pay Up In Record Numbers Gop Says Their Welfare Bill Could Do Even Better

The Clinton administration boasted Tuesday that the government has collected record amounts of child support in both of the past two years. Republicans said it could do even better if the president agreed to the GOP welfare reform bill.

Health and Human Services Secretary Donna E. Shalala said nearly $10 billion was collected in 1994 from parents who didn’t have custody, and an estimated $11 billion in fiscal 1995, which ended Sept. 30.

Paternity was established in 735,000 cases, Shalala said. Since 1992, child support collection has grown nearly 40 percent, she added.

Rep. Bill Archer, R-Texas, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, urged President Clinton to support the GOP welfare reform bill, which he said includes the toughest child support enforcement provisions ever.

Archer said the Republicans are committed to passing a separate welfare bill by Dec. 15. Many of the provisions are also embedded in the huge balanced-budget bill that Clinton has promised to veto.

The free-standing welfare bill has yet to emerge from conference because two Republican committee chairmen can’t agree whether school lunches should be folded into a new welfare block grant.

Some $34 billion in child support goes unpaid each year by deadbeat parents, 90 percent of them fathers.

Shalala claimed credit for the child support provisions in the GOP bill, saying they were drawn largely from the welfare plan that Clinton sent to Congress last year. If they became law, an extra $24 billion in child support could be collected over the next 10 years, she said.

The new measures include streamlined paternity establishment, employer reporting of new hires, uniform interstate child support laws, computerized statewide collections and such penalties as driver’s license revocations.