July 24th, 2018 – House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Indian, Insular and Alaska Native Affairs Legislative Hearing on H.R. 5244, S. 607 and S. 1116

July 24th, 2018 – House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Indian, Insular and Alaska Native Affairs Legislative Hearing on H.R. 5244, S. 607 and S. 1116

The House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Indian, Insular and Alaska Native Affairs (IIANA Subcommittee) has scheduled a legislative hearing to receive testimony next week on the following tribal related bills:

  • H.R. 5244 – To reaffirm the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe reservation, and for other purposes, also referred to as the “Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe Reservation Reaffirmation Act” introduced by Rep. William Keating (D-MA);
  • S. 607 – A bill to establish a business incubators program within the Department of the Interior to promote economic development in Indian reservation communities also referred to as the “Native American Business Incubators Program Act” introduced by Senator Tom Udall (D-NM); and
  • S. 1116 – A bill to amend the Native American Business Development, Trade Promotion, and Tourism Act of 2000, the Buy Indian Act, and the Native American Programs Act of 1974 to provide industry and economic development opportunities to Indian communities, also referred to as the “Indian Community Economic Enhancement Act of 2018” introduced by Senator John Hoeven (R-ND).

The hearing will take place on Tuesday, July 24th at 2:00 p.m. EST in Room 1324 of the Longworth House Office Building in Washington, D.C. Witnesses for live testimony are by invitation only and a list will be posted on the IIANA Subcommittee website once confirmed. The record will be open for two weeks following the hearing for written comments and a webcast of the hearing will be available on the scheduled date on the Subcommittee website. For more information about the hearing or the IIANA Subcommittee, please visit: https://naturalresources.house.gov/indianinsularandalaskanativeissues/.

July 18th, 2018 – Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Legislative Hearing on S. 2154, S. 3060 and S. 3168

July 18th, 2018 – Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Legislative Hearing on S. 2154, S. 3060, and S. 3168

The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs (Committee) has scheduled a legislative hearing to receive testimony this week on the following tribal related bills:

  • S. 2154 – Kickapoo Tribe in Kansas Water Rights Settlement Agreement Act, introduced by Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS);
  • S. 3060 – A bill to repeal section 2141 of the Revised Statutes to remove the prohibition on certain alcohol manufacturing on Indian lands, introduced by Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA); and
  • S. 3168 – A bill to amend the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 to make Reclamation Water Settlements Fund permanent, introduced by Senator Tom Udall (D-NM).

The hearing will take place on Wednesday, July 18th at 2:30 p.m. EST in Room 628 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C. 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 following the hearing for written comments and a webcast of the hearing will be available on the scheduled date on the Committee website. For more information about the hearing or the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, please visit: http://www.indian.senate.gov.

July 11th, 2018 – Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Legislative Hearing on S. 2599, the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Reservation Restoration Act

July 11th, 2018 – Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Legislative Hearing on S. 2599, the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Reservation Restoration Act

The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs (Committee) has scheduled a legislative hearing this week to receive testimony on S. 2599, the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Reservation Restoration Act, introduced by Committee Member and Minnesota Senator Tina Smith. The hearing will take place on Wednesday, July 11th at 2:30 p.m. EST in Room 628 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C. Prior to the start of the hearing, the Committee will conduct a brief Business Meeting to consider H.R. 597, the Lytton Rancheria Homelands Act of 2017. The oversight hearing will begin immediately after consideration of H.R. 597.

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 following the hearing for written comments and a webcast of the hearing will be available on the scheduled date on the Committee website. For more information about the hearing or the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, please visit: http://www.indian.senate.gov.

United States Senate Confirms Tara Sweeney as Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs

United States Senate Confirms Tara Sweeney as Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs

Yesterday, the United States Senate unanimously approved the nomination of Tara Sweeney from Alaska to serve as the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs at the Department of the Interior.

Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Chairman John Hoeven (R-ND) provided the following statement regarding Sweeney’s confirmation: “The Senate’s confirmation of Ms. Sweeney is an important step to help ensure Indian Country has a strong leader and advocate at the Interior Department. Ms. Sweeney will be a powerful voice for Indian nations as she supports Secretary Zinke in upholding tribal sovereignty, promoting Native American self-determination and carrying out the federal government’s trust responsibility to Indian tribes and Indians.”

The Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs develops Interior Department policy on Indian affairs related issues and administers programs for Indian education, public safety, economic development, energy development, and federal recognition of tribes. Ms. Sweeney will oversee the agencies that carry out these functions, including the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Bureau of Indian Education.

Senate Passes Bipartisan Farm Bill

Senate Passes Bipartisan Farm Bill

This evening, the Senate passed their version of the farm bill by a vote of 86-11. The bill will now go to a conference committee to reconcile differences with the House’s version of the legislation.

The treatment of the SNAP program (commonly known as food stamps) is the biggest difference between the House and Senate bills. The House version contains increased work requirements for SNAP recipients, while the Senate bill does not. There are also some differences in the farm subsidy caps and conservation initiatives. The issues surrounding SNAP will be the largest hurdle to overcome in the conference. The current Farm Bill expires September 30th.

Senate Agriculture Committee Releases 2018 Farm Bill

Senate Agriculture Committee Releases 2018 Farm Bill

On Friday, the Senate Agriculture Committee released the base text of their 2018 Farm Bill. The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 is over 1,000 pages long and includes numerous provisions of interest to Indian country.

On a broad level, there are no cuts to nutrition programs, and the SNAP work requirements included in the House bill are not included in the Senate text. While the legislation reauthorizes existing programs and creates numerous new ones, it is ultimately up to USDA to create the rules and guidelines for these programs should they be included in the final enacted bill.

The full text of the bill can be found here

The section-by-section prepared by the Ag Committee can be found here

The Senate Agriculture Committee is planning on holding a markup of the bill on Wednesday, June 13th and will consider any amendments at that time.

Senate Appropriations Committee to Markup FY19 Interior Appropriations Bill

SENATE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE TO MARKUP FY19 INTERIOR APPROPRIATIONS BILL

The Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee has scheduled a markup of the FY19 Interior Appropriations Bill on Tuesday, June 12th at 9:30am. The Interior Appropriations Bill provides funding for the Department of Interior, including the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Bureau of Indian Education, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Indian Health Service. The webcast for the markup will be audio only and can be accessed at: https://www.appropriations.senate.gov/hearings/subcommittee-markup-of-the-fy2019-interior-environment-and-related-agencies-appropriations-bill.

In addition, the Full Senate Appropriations Committee has scheduled a markup of the FY19 Interior Appropriations Bill on Thursday, June 14th at 10:30am. The webcast for the markup will be audio only and can be accessed at: https://www.appropriations.senate.gov/hearings/full-committee-markup-of-the-interior-cjs-and-legislative-branch-appropriations-bills-for-fy2019.

Historic Primary Win in New Mexico for Native American Candidate Deb Haaland

Historic Primary Win in New Mexico for Native American Candidate Deb Haaland

Deb Haaland has won the Democratic primary for New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District, putting her on track to become the first Native American woman elected to Congress. Deb is the former Chairwoman of the New Mexico Democratic Party, and is an enrolled member of the Pueblo of Laguna. She has also previously been a candidate for lieutenant governor and Chairwoman of the Laguna Development Corporation.

Haaland won the crowded Democratic primary with 40.6% of the vote. With her primary win, Deb Haaland will likely win the November general election and head to Washington, D.C. as the first Native American female Member of Congress. This is a historic moment for New Mexico and for Indian country.

House Votes Down Farm Bill After Conservatives Buck GOP Leadership

House Votes Down Farm Bill After Conservatives Buck GOP Leadership

Today, the House Freedom Caucus killed the Farm Bill over an immigration dispute with GOP leadership. The bill went down largely on party lines, 198-213, after leaders feverishly tried to flip conservative votes on the floor, even leaving the vote open for a time to try to change opponents minds.

The vote came after a 48-hour standoff between GOP leadership and members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus. The group held the bill hostage, demanding that the House first vote on controversial immigration legislation in exchange for their support for the sweeping legislation.

GOP leaders said they would delay a motion to reconsider the bill until a later date. It is unclear if they intend to try to pass the partisan bill again — or move to a bipartisan document that could easily clear the Senate. “We’re not done with this,” Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA.) told reporters. “We’re going to continue until we get it done.”

The Senate has not yet relased their version of the Farm Bill. The Senate version will differ from H.R. 2 and is not expected to contain the controversial SNAP work requirements.

May 9th, 2018 – Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Nomination Hearing for Tara Sweeney to serve as the Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs

May 9th, 2018 – Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Nomination Hearing for Tara Sweeney to serve as the Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs

The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs (Committee) has scheduled the nomination hearing for Tara Sweeney of Alaska to serve as the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs at the Department of the Interior on Wednesday, May 9th at 2:30 p.m. EST in Room 628 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C.

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 following the hearing for written comments and a webcast of the hearing will be available on the scheduled hearing date on the Committee website. For more information about the hearing or the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, please visit: http://www.indian.senate.gov.