September 21, 2016
The Honorable John Barrasso The Honorable Jon Tester
Chairman Vice Chairman
Committee on Indian Affairs Committee on Indian Affairs
United States Senate United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510 Washington, DC 20510
Dear Chairman Barrasso and Vice Chairman Tester:
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, supports S. 3234, the “Indian Community Economic Enhancement (ICE) Act of 2016,” which would (among other things) promote business and economic development in Indian Country by disciplining federal agency activities and by providing tribes with financing and tax tools already available to the states.
The Chamber’s Native American Enterprise Initiative (NAEI) was established in order to support initiatives that further the goals of economic development and tribal sovereignty across Indian Country. The ICE legislation is a great example of how Congress can help facilitate that goal, because it recognizes the many barriers to increased industry and economic development in Indian Country and the important role the federal government has in reducing those barriers so the tribes can create healthier tribal economies.
Of particular interest to the Chamber is section three, which focuses on community development in Indian Country by:
- Defining the essential governmental test of an Indian tribe for purposes of financing as “includ[ing] any function that may be performed or financed by a State or unit of local government with local taxing authority;”
- Requiring interagency coordination to provide tools for economic success to Indian Country; and
- Elevating to the Office of the Secretary the Office of Native American Business Development in the Department of Commerce.
The Chamber thanks you for your leadership on the important issue of sovereignty and economic development in Indian Country, and looks forward to working with the Committee towards its passage.
R. Bruce Josten
cc: Members of the Committee on Indian Affairs