Senate Panel Changes Adoption Bill
Wetzstein, Cheryl, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)
A Senate committee yesterday threw out a House-approved section of an adoption bill that would affect American Indian children, saying the House's efforts were well-intended but misguided.
The Senate Indian Affairs Committee instead expects to prepare a separate bill to address adoptions under the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (ICWA), said Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican and committee chairman.
On May 10, the House passed, 393-15, a bill that would allow middle-class families a $5,000 tax credit for adoption expenses, ease barriers to interethnic adoption and change how ICWA could be applied to children of American Indian descent.
The section of the bill "represents a perhaps well-intentioned but certainly misguided and overbroad effort to amend ICWA," Mr. McCain said before he called for a vote to remove the section. Next week, he said, his committee will hear testimony about compromise language recommended by Indian tribal leaders and adoption lawyers.
"After this hearing, I expect we can report out and move through the Senate a stand-alone, separate bill that amends ICWA in a way that can be supported by both the Indian tribes and adoption family attorneys," said Mr. McCain, adding that House members were "equally optimistic" about such a bill.
Several House proponents of the Indian section may testify at Wednesday's hearing, a House aide said. …