January 14, 2015
The Honorable Steve Pearce
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Congressman Pearce:
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than three million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations, and dedicated to promoting, protecting, and defending America’s free enterprise system, thanks you for introducing H.R. 360, the “Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Reauthorization Act of 2015 (NAHASDA).”
The Chamber established the Native American Enterprise Initiative (NAEI) in recognition of the revolution in entrepreneurship occurring amongst the nearly three million people of American Indian and Alaskan Native heritage. Drawing on the Chamber’s record of business advocacy, the NAEI seeks to remove legislative and regulatory roadblocks to their economic success.
This bill would represent an important and positive step toward removing roadblocks to economic success in Indian country as it includes provisions that would streamline both the approval and administrative processes, consolidate the environmental review process, and establish a HUD-Veterans Affairs supportive housing program for Native American veterans, while reauthorizing NAHASDA through fiscal year 2019.
Passage of the original bill in 1996 signaled a shift away from federal control of housing decisions in Indian country, with the recognition that tribal governments are best situated to manage the housing needs of their communities. In the last 18 years, NAHASDA has strengthened this tribal self-determination by empowering these tribal governments to assist low-income Indian families and households with their affordable housing needs and homeownership objectives – a foundation of economic development.
H.R. 360 would reaffirm the House’s longstanding commitment to tribal sovereignty and self-determination. As this bill is identical to the NAHASDA bill passed by the House with bipartisan support in the 113th Congress, the Chamber urges your colleagues to cosponsor it and work swiftly towards its passage.
R. Bruce Josten
cc: Members of the U.S. House of Representatives