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Indian Tribal Trade and Investment Demonstration Project Act of 2011

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. MORAN. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of this Indian Tribal Trade and Investment Demonstration Project Act.

Mr. Speaker, the unemployment rate on American Indian reservations averages between 40-50 percent, and it is intergenerational. Income, employment, and educational attainment are all well below the American average. As a member of the Interior Appropriations Committee, I am very much aware of that, as Mr. Cole is. But the fact is every Member of this body should be as intensely aware as Mr. Cole and those supporting this legislation are, of the immense needs in Indian country and the serious shortfall the Federal Government confronts in meeting its obligations to Native Americans and Native Alaskans.

Some have suggested that private enterprise on reservations may help substantially in alleviating that poverty. And with rising income, many of the social and health-related ills that Native Americans confront in disproportionate numbers will decline. That ought to be a national responsibility, and, really, an obligation. The fact is that this act would test the theory by enabling foreign investors to partner with Native Americans on reservations to create new businesses and generate income where little to none exists today.

The legislation complements other legislation that Congress has already passed, allowing tribes to simplify leasing arrangements to address their housing needs. Go to a reservation and see the housing needs. This bill will bring new capital into reservations and simplify the arrangements under which long-term leases with private investors can be executed. While the proposal may initially have focused on foreign investment from one country, Turkey, it has been amended to include all 155 World Trade Organization countries.

I applaud the government of Turkey for coming up with this original proposal and for what is a genuine offer of assistance and friendship.

I understand the objections that have been raised that really have very little to do with this legislation.


Mr. MORAN. I thank the gentleman very much. I appreciate the additional time to make a further point.

Turkey and Israel have long enjoyed amicable relations. Turkey was the first Muslim country to recognize the State of Israel. The two states remain active trade partners. Their bilateral trade volume is almost $3 billion. It is Israel's sixth-largest trading partner. Israel exports chemicals, agriculture products, and high-tech manufacturing machinery to Turkey. And Turkey exports textiles and transport equipment to Israel. Israel needs Turkey as a trading partner.

The fact is that, according to the Israel-Turkey Business Council, bilateral trade between the two nations increased 35 percent between 2010 and 2011 despite the diplomatic tensions that emerged in 2009. The reality is that they are working together. They want to work together and transcend politics. Bilateral trade is in the interest of both nations.

This is in the interest of the Native American nations. Gosh sakes, they deserve this kind of help after we turned our back on one treaty after another, as has already been said. This is a unique opportunity. We ought to seize it.


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