WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Tom Udall, vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, is asking Tribal Leaders, stakeholders and individuals throughout Indian Country to participate directly in the process for nominating and confirming President Trump’s nominees for the key positions of director of the Indian Health Service and assistant secretary for Indian Affairs.
Earlier this month, Trump nominated Robert Weaver to be Indian Health Service (IHS) director and Tara Sweeney to be assistant secretary for Indian Affairs. The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs will hold hearings within the coming weeks to determine whether to advance the nominations to the full Senate for confirmation. As he prepares for the confirmation hearings, Udall is encouraging individuals in Indian Country to speak up and share their opinions directly with him.
“As vice chairman of the Indian Affairs Committee, I am obligated and committed to having ongoing and meaningful Tribal engagement throughout the confirmation process,” Udall said. “Both of these individuals are nominated for positions that have a direct impact on the ability of the federal government to fulfill its trust obligation to Tribes, and I want to hear what people in Indian Country have to say about Mr. Weaver and Ms. Sweeney’s professional qualifications, management experience, and commitment to working directly with Native communities and maintaining the government-to-government relationship with Tribes. Tribal leaders, stakeholders and individuals throughout Indian Country may share comments with me directly and confidentially by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Udall has previously pressed both the IHS and the Department of the Interior about his concerns about a lack of consistent, qualified leadership of key federal Indian programs.
Text of the letter to Tribal Leaders regarding Weaver is available here. Text of the letter regarding Sweeney is available here.