WASHINGTON – The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs (SCIA), chaired by Senator John Hoeven (R-ND), today passed the following three bills at its business meeting:
· S.458, the Native Educator Support and Training Act (NEST Act), sponsored by Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT), Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) and Sen. Al Franken (D-MN);
· S.691, the Thomasina E. Jordan Indian Tribes of Virginia Federal Recognition Act of 2017, sponsored by Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA); and
· S.1116, the Indian Community Economic Enhancement Act of 2017, sponsored by Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND) and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).
Senator Hoeven highlighted what each piece of legislation intends to accomplish:
“S.458 incentivizes, through scholarships and loan forgiveness, educators to serve Indian communities. It would also provide grants for Native language immersion teacher training.
“S.691 extends federal recognition to six tribal groups in Virginia. It would provide a land base for each of them and prohibit gaming.
“S.1116 would improve economic opportunities for tribes and entrepreneurs in Indian communities through a variety of mechanisms. This bill has the support of the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development, and it is a significant first step in jumpstarting business development and long-range planning for tribes.”
Previous versions of all three bills were considered and passed by the SCIA in the 114th Congress.