September 21, 2020

Chairman Hoeven and Vice Chairman Udall Statement on House Passage of Tribal Self-Governance Senate Bill

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven (R-ND), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, and Senator Tom Udall (D-NM), Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, welcomed the House of Representatives’ passage of S. 209, the Practical Reforms and Other Goals To Reinforce the Effectiveness of Self-Governance and Self-Determination (PROGRESS) for Indian Tribes Act of 2019.


“This legislation is a common-sense approach at correcting bureaucracy within the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Self-Governance program,” said Hoeven. “The PROGRESS for Indian Tribes Act of 2019 reduces unnecessary red tape allowing for Indian Tribes to become more self-reliant by taking over and administering federal programs. Passing this bill for Indian Country is long overdue and I applaud my colleagues for moving this bill.”


“The House’s vote to pass the PROGRESS for Indian Tribes Act reinforces the principles of Tribal sovereignty and self-determination that are at the core of the United States’ government-to-government relationship with Tribes,” said Udall. “By promoting local control and administration of federal Indian programs, and providing clear requirements for negotiating self-determination contracts and self-governance compacts, the PROGRESS Act will improve Tribes’ ability to customize federal Indian programs to best suit their communities’ unique needs.”


“After over 15 years of effort Tribes are delighted with the passage of the PROGRESS Act. This bipartisan legislation underscores Congress’ continuing commitment to the fundamental principles of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act: that Tribes across America are Self-Governing and Self-Reliant and that they are best situated to decide what types of services and how they are provided to Indians and Alaska Natives. Critically, this bipartisan legislation will assist the almost 400 Tribes that currently participate in the Self-Governance program to streamline and bring down the costs associated with the administration of programs. We extend our special thanks to SCIA Chairman Hoeven and Vice-Chairman Udall for their strong leadership and co-sponsorship of Senators Cantwell, Barrasso, Smith and Sullivan on this important legislation,” said W. Ron Allen, Chair of the Self-Governance Communication and Education Tribal Consortium.


The PROGRESS for Indian Tribes Act of 2019:


Streamlines the U.S. Department of the Interior’s process for approving self-governance compacts and annual funding agreements for Indian programs.
Aligns the process used by the U.S. Department of the Interior to be similar to the processes used by the Indian Health Service.
Adds more flexibility in administering contracts for Indian Tribes that either have not qualified for self-governance or have chosen to administer only a few Bureau of Indian Affairs programs.


S. 209 passed the full Senate in June 2019 and will now proceed to the President’s desk to be signed into law.