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Public Statements

Issue Position: Additional Legislation to Benefit the Native American Community that I Support

Issue Position

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INDIAN HEALTH CARE IMPROVEMENT ACT - provides programs and services that make up the Indian health care delivery system. The Natural Resources Committee has passed this legislation in the House this Congress.

TRANSPORTATION REAUTHORIZATION -- I worked to make sure that Transportation reauthorization proposal included improving existing programs relating to Indian Reservation roads and bridges.

INDIAN TAX STATUS ACT -- I serve as a co-sponsor of this legislation which would allow Tribes, like States, to issue tax-exempt bonds for projects that serve an "essential governmental function."

PENSION REFORM -- I support pension reform plans that would ensure Tribal pension plans are given the same treatment as State sponsored government plans.

LAND INTO TRUST -- CARCIERI v. SALAZAR -- I support seeking a legislative fix in response to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling dated February 24, 2009, that Tribes not federally recognized as of 1934 cannot follow the land-into-trust process authorized by the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934.

COBELL v. SALAZAR -- INDIAN TRUST FUNDS SETTLEMENT PROPOSAL -- I supporter legislation passed by Congress passed to reform the Department of Interior's handling of Indian trust assets. The Department spent several millions to update its accounting systems. Congress will be asked to authorize several millions for settlement legislation.

TRIBAL LAW & ORDER LEGISLATION -- I support a comprehensive proposal to strengthen existing laws and to create new laws relating to tribal justice systems. Senator Dorgan taking the lead on this initiative as he is sponsor of the Senate bill.

INDIAN ARTS AND CRAFTS AMENDMENT ACT OF 2009 -- I support this bill, which protects Indian products and goods from counterfeiters. This bill will allow for any federal law enforcement officer to investigate allegations with the same authority given originally to the FBI.

INDIAN LAND TAX CREDIT -- I served as a co-signor on a Congressional letter requesting that the former Indian Lands Tax Credit and the Indian Employment Tax Credit be included in the House tax extenders package.

LETTER TO PRESIDENT REQUESTING PEPFAR FUNDING -- I co-signed a Congressional letter to the President requesting his FY 2011 Budget include the funding authorized in Title VI of the Tom Lantos and Henry J. Hyde United States Global Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Reauthorization Act of 2008. This funding would be used for desperately needed law enforcement, health care, and water projects benefitting American Indians and Alaska Natives.

LETTER TO INTERIOR SECRETARY SALAZAR -- Co-signed a Congressional letter to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar requesting the Department to formulate policies that require tribes to have an ancestral or historic connection on lands that will be used for gaming. Current DOI's interpretation of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act allows for off-reservation gaming.

LETTER TO SENATE ON MINORITY SERVING INSTITUTIONS -- Co-signed a Congressional letter requesting increased funding for Minority Serving Institutions. Many undergraduate American Indian, African American, and Hispanic students rely on these institutions for their personal and professional development. These funds are offered as grants to be utilized for faculty and academic program development, management, use of libraries and laboratories, equipment attainment, and student services.

PRESIDENTIAL PROCLAMATION FOR NATIONAL NATIVE AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH -- I Was invited to and attended, along with 564 Tribes, a ceremony held at the US Department of the Interior.

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