Sending Office: Honorable Debra A. Haaland
Sent By:
Mary.Nugent@mail.house.gov

Become a Cosponsor of the Bipartisan PROGRESS for Indian Tribes Act

Cosponsors: Haaland,
Young, Gallego, Cole, Heck, Gabbard, O’Halleran

Dear Colleague:

As Members of Congress, it is our duty to uphold the government-to-government relationship and fulfill the trust responsibility that the federal government has with Tribal Nations. As part of this, it is Congress’ responsibility to support Tribal
governments in exercising greater control over their planning and budgeting processes to meet local needs and be more involved in internal governance and identification of needs within their communities.

In 1975, Congress extended this authority through the enactment of Title IV of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (ISDEAA) in order to give Tribal Nations the ability to exercise their inherent right to self-governance by
giving them the responsibility to administer their own programs, services, functions, and activities that were traditionally managed by federal agencies like the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Self-governance
has been highly beneficial for Tribes to create successful programs by providing them flexibility to utilize federal funding in a manner that is best tailored to meet the specific needs of their communities.

However, serious gaps continue to exist within ISDEAA that hinder the full exercise of Tribal self-governance, which is why I am introducing the PROGRESS for Indian Tribes Act. This bill amends Title IV to conform with Title V of ISDEAA to create
consistency and streamline administrative efficiency for Tribes to strengthen their economies and improve existing self-governance programs. Specifically, the Title IV amendments include the following improvements for compacts and funding agreements:

  • Requires federal agencies to clarify their reasoning for denial to participate in requests;
  • Prohibits the Department of Interior from imposing unauthorized terminology;
  • Establishes clear processes and timelines for final offers to avoid unreasonable delays;
  • Eliminates ambiguity in construing Title IV agreement interpretation for clarity;
  • Reinforces carry-over mechanisms and procedural directives for awarded funding;
  • Specifies appeals processes/evidentiary standards/waiver requests to expedite claims;
  • Clarifies construction oversight roles to ensure fiscal prudence and public safety; and
  • Establishes clear payment schedules and procedures for involved parties.

The PROGRESS for Indian Tribes Act recognizes that Tribal Self-Governance is a priority for the 116th Congress because: 1) Tribal governments are best positioned to prioritize and administer programmatic funding best tailored to the needs of their
own citizens; and 2) Tribes are best situated to manage their own programs within their respective geographical locations. Further, this bill effectuates successful Title V compacting regimes to modernize Title IV functions.

As of July 2016, there are over 350 tribes participating in Tribal Self-Governance compacts at IHS and over 250 at DOI. As the number of self-governance Tribes continues to increase, Congress must work together to streamline these administrative processes
between Tribal Nation and federal agencies to honor the trust responsibility. For this reason, we humbly request that you consider becoming an original cosponsor of this important bill.

If you have questions or would like to become an original cosponsor, please contact Jennifer Van der Heide in Rep. Haaland’s office at Jennifer.VanderHeide@mail.house.gov or Alex Ortiz in Rep. Young’s office at alex.ortiz@mail.house.gov

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