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Udall Announces Committee Passage of First Bills of New Congress
WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.), vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, joined committee chairman John Hoeven (R-N.D.) in leading the committee’s first business meeting of the year. During the meeting, the committee passed two Udall-cosponsored bills: S. 209, the PROGRESS for Indian Tribes Act, and S. 211, the SURVIVE Act.
“We have our work cut out for us this Congress and I hope we can join together to achieve Indian Country’s priorities. This committee is the strongest voice for Indian Country in Congress. It has a long bipartisan tradition of working together to uphold the federal treaty and trust obligations to Tribes. So, I am proud to work with Chairman Hoeven and each member of the committee to carry out that bipartisan commitment to Indian Country into the 116th Congress,” said Udall.
The PROGRESS for Indian Tribes Act would amend the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act of 1975, which authorizes Tribes to enter into contracts with the Department of the Interior and the Indian Health Service to receive federal funds for management of federal program activities. This bill provides clearer guidelines for self-governance compact negotiations and promotes greater accountability.
“The PROGRESS for Indian Tribes Act streamlines the self-governance process so Tribes can have greater flexibility to administer federal programs,” said Udall. “This legislation strengthens Tribes’ ability to exercise self-determination and self-governance of federal Indian programs – the true core of tribal sovereignty. By promoting local control and administration of federal Indian programs and providing clear requirement for negotiating compacts and contracts, Tribes will be better able to customize federal Indian programs to suit their communities’ needs.”
The SURVIVE Act would amend the Victims of Crime Act to improve Tribes’ access to victim federal assistance resources.
“The SURVIVE Act addresses crucial public safety needs in Indian Country… elevating Tribes to a more equal playing field with states when accessing federal victim assistance funds,” Udall said. “Tribal self-governance and public safety are among the many important priorities for Indian Country in the 116th Congress. I’m proud to cosponsor both these bills with Chairman Hoeven,” Udall continued.
The committee unanimously voted to advance all 12 bills heard at today’s business meeting to the full Senate.