Sending Office: Honorable Norma J. Torres
Sent By:
Rudy.Soto@mail.house.gov

Current Signers: Rep. Soto

Dear Colleague:

For the United States to fulfill its treaty promises to tribal nations, tribal and federal policies must remain aligned to build strong, prosperous tribal communities by enhancing their economic growth and development opportunities.  On the frontline of
the federal effort is the Department of the Interior’s Office of Indian Energy and Economic Development.  The OIEED promotes tribal renewable and conventional energy and mineral resource development, and spurs economic and business development through assistance
to expand job and skills training opportunities and loan guarantees to facilitate and leverage access to private capital for business and economic development.

OIEED received about $27.6 million in FY 2017, mostly for energy development-related activities, yet it needs more to fortify its economic and business development efforts and the Indian Loan Guarantee Program (funded at $8.7 million). OIEED effectively
stretches its limited funding to provide assistance for capacity building, feasibility studies to spur economic and business development, and expansion of job and skills training opportunities.  By streamlining and improving its loan guarantee process, OIEED
has enabled far more tribes, tribal enterprises, and individual Indian-owned businesses to access private bank financing for business and development projects on reservations.  For the last several years, however, demand has far exceeded amounts available,
especially for loan guarantees, causing delays in financings for project commencement or completion, or worse — project cancellation.   Given the substantial return on the federal investment (every $1 in federal guarantee now generates $16 in private lending),
tribal and other native borrowers persistently call on Congress to double the loan guarantee program’s annual credit subsidy so as to generate up to $250 million per year in private financing for development projects.

With increased funding, OIEED could: 1) provide grants for feasibility studies of development projects; 2) leverage more private financing for these development projects; 3) assist more tribes to establish commercial codes, courts and other business structures
to enhance economic development; (4) help tribes develop capacity to leasing tribal lands and manage economic and energy resource development; and (5) support incubators of tribal-owned and other Native American-owned businesses.  The bipartisan Jobs for Tribes
Act, H.R. 4506, which I have sponsored with Congressman Tom Cole and other colleagues, will enhance many of these important activities, and properly funding the OIEED in FY 2019 will help fuel long-sought business, economic and energy development in Indian
Country.

To meet the longstanding need and increasing demand for modest assistance to leverage substantially more resources for Indian Country economic development, I urge you to join me in requesting that Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations
for FY 2019 provide the OIEED at least $37 million for FY 2019 to afford $3 million more for its economic development activities and up to $15 million for the Indian Loan Guarantee Program to leverage a total of up to $250 million in private loan principal.

Please contact Rudy Soto (rudy.soto@mail.house.gov, 5-6161) in the office of Congressman Torres with any questions or to sign onto this letter.

Sincerely,

Norma J. Torres

Member of Congress

 

 

The Honorable Ken Calvert                                The Honorable Betty McCollum

Chairman                                                             Ranking Member

Subcommittee on Interior, Environment             Subcommittee on Interior, Environment

& Related Agencies                                            & Related Agencies

Committee on Appropriations                             Committee on Appropriations

Washington, DC 20515                                       Washington, DC 20515

 

Dear Chairman Calvert and Ranking Member McCollum,

As you consider requests related to the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, we respectfully request the Subcommittee consider increasing funding for the Office of Indian Energy and Economic Development at
$37 million.

OIEED received about $27.6 million in FY 2017, mostly for energy development-related activities, yet it needs more to fortify its economic and business development efforts and the Indian Loan Guarantee Program ($8.7 million provided for FY 2017).  OIEED
effectively stretches its limited funding to provide assistance for capacity building, feasibility studies to spur economic and business development, and expansion of job and skills training opportunities.  By streamlining and improving its loan guarantee
process, OIEED has enabled far more tribes, tribal enterprises, and individual Indian-owned businesses to access private bank financing for business and development projects on reservations.  For the last several years, however, demand has far exceeded amounts
available, especially for loan guarantees, causing delays in financings for project commencement or completion, or worse — project cancellation.   Given the substantial return on the federal investment (every $1 in federal guarantee now generates $16 in private
lending), tribal and other native borrowers persistently call on Congress to double the loan guarantee program’s annual credit subsidy so as to generate up to $250 million per year in private financing for development projects.

With increased funding, OIEED could provide more for feasibility studies of development projects, leverage needed private financing for these development projects, assist more tribes to establish commercial codes, courts and other business structures to
enhance economic development, help build more tribal capacity for leasing tribal lands and managing economic and energy resource development, and support incubators of tribal-owned and other Native American-owned businesses.  To meet the longstanding need
and increasing demand for modest assistance to leverage substantially more resources for Indian Country economic development, the OIEED should be provided at least $37 million for FY 2019 to afford $3 million more for its economic development activities and
up to $15 million for the Indian Loan Guarantee Program to leverage a total of up to $250 million in private loan principal.

We appreciate your attention to this request and will continue to work with you on ways to improve economic, business, energy and infrastructure development in Indian Country.

Related Legislative Issues

Selected legislative information: Economy, Energy, Finance, Natural Resources, Small Business

Related Deadline Information

Deadline Title: Noon Thursday March 15
Deadline Start: 3/14/2018 5:00:00 PM
Deadline End: 3/15/2018 12:00:00 PM

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