POMBO, MCCAIN TO CONVENE JOINT HEARING ON INDIAN TRUST FUND REFORM ACT
House Resources Committee Chairman Richard W. Pombo (R-CA) and Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Chairman John McCain (R-AZ) will convene a joint hearing on the Cobell v. Norton lawsuit tomorrow, Wednesday, March 1 at 9:30 a.m. in 106 Dirksen Senate Office Building.
The Chairmen will focus on Title I of the Indian Trust Reform Act of 2005, S. 1439 and H.R. 4322, sponsored by McCain and Pombo, respectively.
"Neither American taxpayers nor Indian Country can afford another decade of fruitless settlement negotiations in this case," Pombo said. "Congress must step-in and solve this matter equitably, once and for all. I look forward to working in lock-step with Senator McCain across the Capitol to do just that."
More than 100 years ago, the Department of Interior promised to oversee a type of personal money account for Native Americans. In 1996, the Department's historically poor management of these accounts led to the filing of a class action lawsuit for an accounting. Since the suit was filed, the Department of Interior has undertaken costly efforts to improve its accounting procedures, but the litigation could continue for years and consume enormous resources better spent on pressing needs in Indian Country.
"It is time to resolve this case, which has dragged on for almost a decade, consumed enormous resources of the Department of Interior that would be put to better use in Indian Country, and failed to produce any recovery for individual account holders," McCain said.
Pombo has been committed to solving this serious problem since he became Resources Chairman in 2003. Previous Resources Committee hearings on this issue can be found here.