Rep. Haaland Confirmed as Interior Secretary

Rep. Haaland Confirmed as Interior Secretary

This evening, the Senate voted to confirm Representative Debra Haaland (D-NM) to be the Secretary of Interior. Rep. Haaland is a citizen of the Laguna Pueblo. Haaland’s confirmation is historic, as she will be the first Native American Interior secretary as well as the first Native American Cabinet secretary.

The Senate voted 51 – 40 to confirm, with most Republicans voting against her after several called her views on public land use and fossil fuels extreme. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Susan Collins (R-ME), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) joined all Democrats in voting to confirm.

Rep. Haaland will be giving her farewell speech on the floor of the House of Representatives tomorrow afternoon sometime between 12:00 pm – 2:00 PM ET.

Biden American Rescue Plan will Deliver $31 Billion to Indian Country

Biden American Rescue Plan will Deliver $31 Billion to Indian Country:
Work on Implementation to Begin Immediately

The U.S. House of Representatives will pass the American Rescue Plan (ARP) either late today or early tomorrow and send it to President Biden for his signature this week. The ARP will deliver more than $31 billion to Tribal Governments to help address the significant health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The largest program in the bill sends $20 billion to Tribes through the renamed Coronavirus Fiscal Recovery Funds (formerly the CARES Act – Coronavirus Relief Fund). Indian Tribes are defined as the governing body of a tribe included in the BIA’s annually published Federally Recognized Indian Tribes List. The use of these funds will be more flexible than the CRF funding under the CARES Act, and provide more time to utilize the funds.

The ARP also provides more than $6 billion for Indian health care programs and services, increased funding for Indian education, housing, food distribution, child care, preservation of Native languages, funding to enable Tribes to establish guaranteed loan programs in coordination with CDFIs, and more.

These resources will come to Tribes through a number of federal agencies, including the Treasury Department, the IHS, the BIA and BIE, USDA, HUD, and others. We expect that the Biden Administration will begin scheduling consultations on the implementation of the ARP in the coming days.

Senate to Begin Debate on Revised American Rescue Plan Today

Senate to Begin Debate on Revised American Rescue Plan Today

As reported earlier this week, the House passed President Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan early Saturday morning (February 27th). The bill is now under consideration in the U.S. Senate, where procedural rules required amendments to the House-passed bill, most notably the removal of a provision to gradually increase the federal minimum wage from $7.25/hour to $15/hour over 4 years.

The Senate released the revised package and will begin debate today. While we continue to review the Senate package, we are glad to report that most of the tribal provisions included in the House-passed bill have been retained in the Senate bill.

Importantly, the package includes $20 billion to tribal governments through the renamed Coronavirus Fiscal Recovery Funds (formerly the CARES Act – Coronavirus Relief Fund). Indian Tribes are defined as the governing body of a tribe included on the annually published pursuant to the Federally Recognized Indian Tribe List Act. The “lost revenue” provision for “use of funds” has been revised but retained. In addition, the bill provides over $6B for the Indian Health Service and other health care activities. The bill also includes additional funding for Indian education, housing, food distribution, child care, and more.

The Senate is expected to complete debate on the bill this weekend. If the package makes it through the Senate, the revised bill will return to the House for final passage. Congressional Democrats are working to complete debate on the final bill by Sunday, March 14th when unemployment benefits begin to expire.

Senate ENR Committee to Hold Vote on Haaland Nomination

Senate ENR Committee to Hold Vote on Haaland Nomination

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee (ENR) has announced that it will move forward with Rep. Haaland’s nomination for Secretary of the Interior on Thursday, March 4 at 10:00 AM. ENR Chairman Joe Manchin (D-WV) recently indicated he will support Haaland’s nomination, which is a strong sign she will have the necessary support in the Committee to move forward. Once ENR votes Haaland “out of Committee,” her nomination will be eligible for a vote by the full Senate.

More details can be found on the ENR website HERE