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.

March 20th, 2018 – House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Indian, Insular and Alaska Native Affairs Oversight Hearing on FY19 Budget

March 20th, 2018 – House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Indian, Insular and Alaska Native Affairs Oversight Hearing on FY19 Budget

The House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Indian, Insular and Alaska Native Affairs (Subcommittee) has scheduled an oversight hearing titled, “Policy Priorities for the Administration’s FY 2019 Budget for Indian Affairs and Insular Areas,” which will take place on Tuesday, March 20th at 10:30 am, in room 1324 of the Longworth House Office Building in Washington, DC.

Witnesses for live testimony are by invitation only and a list will be posted on the Subcommittee’s website once confirmed. The record will be open for two weeks following the hearing for written comments. In addition, a live webcast of the hearing will be available on the scheduled hearing date on the Subcommittee website. For more information about the hearing or the Subcommittee on Indian, Insular, and Alaska Native Affairs, please visit: https://naturalresources.house.gov/indianinsularandalaskanativeissues/.

March 14th & 21st, 2018 – Senate Committee on Indian Affairs to hold Oversight Hearings on Opioid Crisis and FY19 Budget Request for Tribal Programs

March 14th & 21st, 2018 – Senate Committee on Indian Affairs to hold Oversight Hearings on Opioid Crisis and FY19 Budget Request for Tribal Programs

The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs (Committee) has scheduled oversight hearings on its calendar to take place over the next two weeks. The Committee will first conduct an oversight hearing titled, “Opioids in Indian Country: Beyond the Crisis to Healing the Community,” on Wednesday, March 14th at 2:30 p.m. EST in Room 628 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C. The Committee will then hold another oversight hearing the following week titled, “The President’s FY2019 Budget Request for Indian Programs,” on Wednesday, March 21st at 2:30 p.m. EST in the same Committee hearing room location.

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 these hearings will be available on the scheduled hearing dates on the Committee website. For more information about the hearing or the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, please visit: http://www.indian.senate.gov.

March 13th & 15th, 2018 – Interior Secretary Zinke to Testify before Senate and House Committees on FY19 Budget Proposal

March 13th & 15th, 2018 – Interior Secretary Zinke to Testify before Senate and House Committees on FY19 Budget Proposal

The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources (ENR Committee) and the House Committee on Natural Resources (HNR Committee) have scheduled hearings for this coming week to receive testimony from Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke regarding the President’s Fiscal Year 2019 (FY19) budget request for the Department of the Interior.

The full ENR Committee will first conduct its hearing on Tuesday, March 13th, 2018 at 10:00 am (EST), in Room 366 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C. ENR Committee Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Ranking Member Maria Cantwell (D-WA) will both provide comments to open the hearing. Following their remarks, the ENR Committee will receive testimony from Secretary Zinke about the FY19 budget proposal for the Department.

Secretary Zinke will then provide testimony to the HNR Committee at its oversight hearing titled, “Policy Priorities at the Department of the Interior and the Administration’s Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Proposal,” on Thursday, March 15th, 2018 at 10:00 am (EST), in Room 1324 of the Longworth House Office Building. Zinke is expected to be accompanied by the following Interior officials at both hearings:

  • Ms. Olivia Barton Ferriter, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Budget, Finance, Performance and Acquisition, Department of the Interior; and
  • Ms. Denise Flanagan, Director, Office of Budget, Department of the Interior.

A webcast of both hearings will be available on the scheduled dates on the ENR and HNR Committee websites. For more information about the hearings or committees, please visit: https://www.energy.senate.gov or https://naturalresources.house.gov.

February 14th, 2018 – Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Oversight Hearing on Indian Country and the 2020 Census

February 14th, 2018 – Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Oversight Hearing on Indian Country and the 2020 Census

The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs (Committee) has scheduled an oversight hearing to take place on Wednesday, February 14th titled, “Making Indian Country Count: Native Americans and the 2020 Census”. The hearing will take place 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 this 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/.