Bipartisan legislation strengthens tribal self-governance
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, and Sen.Tom Udall, D-N.M., vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, issued the following statement this past week after President Trump signed 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, into law.
“We welcome our bipartisan legislation being signed into law, as it gives greater control and flexibility in the administration of federal programs to Indian Tribes, who best understand the needs of their communities,” said Hoeven. “The PROGRESS for Indian Tribes Act, which was first introduced more than 15 years ago, reduces unnecessary red tape and streamlines the Department of the Interior’s Self-Governance program. Our legislation, now a law, takes this program forward and helps restores Congress’ intent from when it passed the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act.”
“I am proud that the PROGRESS for Indian Tribes Act is now law, reinforcing 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. I look forward to building on this bipartisan work in consultation with Tribes to further address self-governance priorities for Indian Country.”
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.
Hoeven and Udall introduced S. 209 on Jan. 24, 2019, with the committee approving the bill by voice vote on April 29, 2019. The Senate passed S. 209 on June 27, 2019. The House agreed to suspend the rules and passed the bill by voice vote on Sept. 21, 2020. Senators John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Tina Smith, D-Minn., Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., and Dan Sullivan, R-Ark., are cosponsors of the bill.