WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Chairman John Barrasso (R-WY), and committee member Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) praised the committee’s passage of S. 3234, the Indian Community Economic Enhancement Act of 2016.
“I am glad the committee has acted expeditiously on a bill that will boost economic growth in tribal communities,” said Chairman Barrasso. “Our bill is the product of listening to tribal leaders, organizations, and entrepreneurs. It will increase opportunities to invest in Indian communities, improve access to capital, and promote Indian businesses. I will work with my colleagues in the Senate to see this important legislation passed soon.”
“This legislation is important to incentivizing infrastructure development and boosting job creation across rural parts of Indian Country, and particularly areas like the remote Bennett Freeze of the Navajo reservation,” said Senator McCain. “By making important updates to existing law such as the Buy Indian Act, our legislation would go a long way in enhancing economic opportunity for Native Americans.”
The legislation will improve access to capital in tribal communities by amending and improving existing law, including:
• the Native American Business Development, Trade Promotion, and Tourism
Act of 2000;
• the Native American Programs Act of 1974; and
• the Buy Indian Act.
The specific amendments to existing law within S. 3234, that will promote economic development, include:
The Native American Business Development, Trade Promotion, and Tourism Act of 2000
· require interagency coordination between the secretaries of Commerce, Interior, and Treasury to develop initiatives encouraging investment in Indian communities;
· elevate the director for the Indian programs in the Department of Commerce;
· make permanent the waiver of the requirement for Native community development financial institutions (CDFIs) to provide a matching cost share for assistance received by the Treasury CDFI;
· require a feasibility Government Accountability Office (GAO) study to assess federal capitalization, programs, and services for Indian communities;
The Native American Programs Act of 1974
· reauthorize the economic development programs;
· prioritize economic development program applications and technical assistance for:
o building tribal court systems and code development for economic development;
o developing CDFIs;
o developing master plans for community and economic development;
The Buy Indian Act
· facilitate the use of the Buy Indian Act and increasing accountability in procurement by the BIA and the Indian Health Service.
On May 27, 2015, the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs held an oversight field hearing on “Advancing Economic Success in Indian Country.” The hearing was held in Anadarko, OK.
On June 16, 2015, the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs held a listening session on the “Buy Indian Act and Community Development Financial Institutions.”
On June 17, 2015, the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs held an oversight hearing on “Accessing Capital in Indian Country.”
On June 22, 2016, the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs held an oversight hearing on “Accessing USDA Rural Development Programs in Native Communities.”