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Congressman Joe Courtney

Representing the 2nd District of Connecticut

Courtney Announces The Recovering Missing Children Act Has Been Passed By House And Senate

June 17, 2016
Press Release
The bipartisan Recovering Missing Children Act, first introduced by Courtney in 2011 with GOP colleague, is expected to be signed into law by President Obama

WASHINGTON, D.C. —Today, Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02) announced that the bipartisan Recovering Missing Children Act which he co-leads with Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN) passed the U.S. Senate with unanimous consent. It passed the House of Representatives in May. The bill will allow law enforcement, with a warrant, to access tax returns that would help investigators locate abducted children. Law enforcement is currently granted similar access to IRS records when investigating some federal crimes such as terrorist acts, or tracking down a fugitive, but not in missing children investigations. The President is expected to sign the legislation into law.

"I am very pleased that this important piece of legislation which will help bring kidnapped children home received strong support from Congress and is now headed to the President’s desk,” said Courtney. “My colleague, Rep. Erik Paulsen and I first introduced this bill in 2011, and we have remained strong advocates for its passage since that time. Missing children investigations are incredibly complex and challenging for law enforcement officials to solve, and we should be providing them with every conceivable tool that can help bring children home safely.

“This bill will allow law enforcement, with a warrant, to access tax returns that could help locate abducted children. Surprisingly often, abductors, especially parents who illegally take children during custody disputes, file for tax credits using the child’s Social Security number. Law enforcement is currently granted similar access to IRS records when investigating some federal crimes such as terrorist acts, or tracking down a fugitive, but not in missing children investigations. This legislation will change the law and allow that access to help reunite stolen children with their parents or legal guardians. I want to thank Rep. Paulsen, and all of my colleagues from both parties who were able to put political differences aside to help us pass this bill.”

“Only the President’s signature is needed to provide law enforcement with a critical tool in finding missing and abducted children,” said Paulsen. “This legislation fills the ‘information gap’ that investigators often face when trying to reunite a child with their loved ones.”

The Recovering Missing Children Act is supported by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children along with law enforcement organizations like the Fraternal Order of Police, the Sergeants Benevolent Association, the National Association of Police Officers, and the Major County Sheriffs Association. A 2010 New York Times piece titled ‘I.R.S. Sits on Data Pointing to Missing Children’ which discusses the issue in depth is available here.

Now that the bill has passed the Senate, it will be sent to the President to be signed into law.

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