Congress Enacts FY15 CR Through December 2014

Congress Enacts FY15 CR

On Thursday, September 18th, Congress approved a Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund federal government agencies and programs from the beginning of FY15 (October 1, 2014) through December 11, 2014. Prior to its consideration, the Administration voiced support for passage of the CR and the President signed the the bill into law on September 19, 2014.

After passing the CR, Congress adjourned to campaign for the November 4, 2014 midterm elections and is scheduled to reconvene on November 12th for a “lame duck” session. The primary focus of the lame duck will be on funding the government for the remainder of FY15 beyond December 11th. Senate and House Appropriators expressed their desire to pass an omnibus appropriations bill during the lame duck session.

Tribal General Welfare Exclusion Act Passes House and Senate

Tribal General Welfare Exclusion Act Passes House and Senate

On Tuesday, September 16th, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 3043, the Tribal General Welfare Exclusion Act, by voice vote. The bill had 61 co-sponsors at the time of passage, showing strong bipartisan support for the legislation. Reps. Devin Nunes (R-CA), Ron Kind (D-WI), Tom Reed (R-NY), and David Schweikert (R-AZ) made statements on the floor in support of the bill. After passage in the House, the bill then moved over to the Senate for consideration. Senators Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-SD) were instrumental in ushering the bill through the Senate quickly, where it passed by Unanimous Consent on Thursday, September 18th.

H.R. 3043 pushes back against IRS audits and examinations that violate tribal sovereignty and self-determination. The bill clarifies that a broad range of tribal government programs and services are not subject to federal income taxation, would force reforms of the IRS in Indian Country, and would establish a Tribal Advisory Committee to advise the Treasury Secretary on the application of federal tax laws to Indian Country, among other matters.

The tremendous outreach from Indian Country was the key to the bill’s passage. Twenty tribal organizations signed on to a joint letter of support, while tribal nations across the country sent resolutions and letters to their members pressing for the passage of H.R. 3043. The strong collective voice of tribes across the nation was instrumental in the bill’s success.

The final step for H.R. 3043 is for the bill to be signed into law by President Obama.

Senate Indian Affairs Committee Schedules Hearing on Irrigation Projects in Indian Country

Senate Indian Affairs Committee Schedules Hearing on Irrigation Projects in Indian Country

The Senate Indian Affairs Committee has scheduled a hearing to take place on Wednesday, September 10th to receive testimony on Irrigation Projects in Indian Country. The hearing will begin at 2:30 PM in Room 628 of the Senate Dirksen Office Building.

Witnesses for live testimony are by invitation only, and a list will be posted on the Committee’s website once confirmed. The record will be open for two weeks after the hearing for written comments. A webcast of this hearing will be available on the scheduled hearing date on the Committee website.

For more information about the hearing or the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, please visit: http://www.indian.senate.gov/