WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven (R-ND), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs (SCIA), today issued the following statement after the release of the Trump Administration’s Putting America’s First Peoples First Plan. The plan outlines the Administration’s priorities to strengthen and preserve tribal nations, provide greater sovereignty, more economic opportunity and a higher quality of life.
“We appreciate President Trump putting forward this plan today to respect tribal sovereignty, improve public safety, and invest in tribal economies, infrastructure, education and health care,” said Hoeven. “As chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, we’ve worked to advance legislation in many of these areas. That includes passing the PROGRESS Act, which promotes tribal sovereignty and economic development in Native American communities, as well as our efforts with the Administration to open the BIA Advanced Training Center at Camp Grafton in North Dakota to provide tribal law enforcement with increased training options and help improve public safety. During this Congress, we’ve worked to pass and the President has signed a number of Indian Affairs Committee bills into law that advance these priorities, and we look forward to continuing to work together to support Indian Country.”
As SCIA Chairman, Hoeven has worked to advance similar goals in partnership with the Tribes and the Administration, including:
Economic Development and Tribal Sovereignty
The PROGRESS for Indian Tribes Act, bipartisan legislation that would streamline the Department of the Interior’s process for approving self-governance compacts and provide Indian Tribes with greater flexibility to plan, conduct, consolidate and administer federal programs for their communities.
The Indian Community Economic Enhancement (ICEE) Act of 2019, a bill to help spur economic development in tribal communities by increasing access to capital for Indian businesses, attracting investment in Tribal communities, supporting Native American Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and streamlining federal economic development programs.
The AUTOS Act, which authorizes increased funding from $30 million up to $50 million for the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Road Maintenance program and the Tribal Transportation Program’s Safety Fund. The Senate is working to reauthorize the transportation bill, and the senator successfully included his AUTOS Act in the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Transportation bill that was approved by the committee.
S.210, the Tribal Law and Order Reauthorization and Amendments Act of 2019, which would reauthorize and strengthen several key programs to improve tribal justice and public safety for Indian communities.
S.211, the SURVIVE Act, which would expand critical victims services by requiring a 5 percent allocation from the Crime Victims Fund be allocated directly to Indian Tribes.
As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Hoeven secured a key provision of his SURVIVE Act in the Senate’s FY2020 appropriations bill by securing more than $150 million to assist victims of crime on the reservations. He has done this since FY2018.
S.227, Savanna’s Act, which Hoeven helped reintroduce with Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and worked to pass through Congress. The bill, which requires reporting on missing and murdered Native Americans and was sponsored by Senator Heidi Heitkamp last Congress, was signed into law earlier this month.
Securing funding for BIA law enforcement specialized trainings to address law enforcement vacancies in Indian Country, including in the Great Plains region. Hoeven recently led federal, state and tribal officials in marking the opening of the U.S. Indian Law Enforcement Advanced Training Center at Camp Grafton in North Dakota.
Education, Health Care and Housing
The Tribal HUD-VASH Act, a bipartisan bill to provide rental assistance and supportive services for homeless or at-risk Indian veterans. The bill would set aside at least five percent of Housing and Urban Development-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) resources for Tribes and Tribal housing authorities. The bill would also ensure that HUD and the VA modify the initiative through tribal consultation to better guide these newly-available resources to homeless Native American veterans.
Hoeven secured key provisions from his bipartisan CROPS for Indian Country Act in the last Farm Bill that will promote agribusiness in Indian Country and strengthen Tribal self-governance for USDA programs, including expanded support for Tribal Colleges and Universities, as well as continuation of the USDA Tribal Advisory Committee to provide technical assistance to the Secretary of Agriculture. The bill also includes a technical fix for names of Tribal Colleges and Universities including Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College in New Town, ND.