Dear Chairman Grijalva and Ranking Member Bishop:
Thank you for expeditiously scheduling a markup for H.R. 375, which would address issues related to the Carcieri v. Salazar decision. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce strongly urges you to consider possible amendments that would affect bipartisan and bicameral support for enactment.
The impacts of the Carcieri decision are significant and affect tribes across the country. The inability under the Indian Reorganization Act for the Secretary to acquire land in trust for all tribes in the contiguous United States is stalling, and potentially denying, Indian Country and surrounding communities the benefits of economic development projects whose viability depends on trust land as a necessary element. This inconstancy over trust status is hindering business development decisions in financing and planning, preventing the critical flow of investment, and promoting unnecessary, acrimonious and expensive litigation. These are unsustainable burdens for tribes seeking to improve the standards of living of their members and surrounding communities.
The Chamber appreciates the bipartisan and bicameral work of many Members of Congress to address the economic drag and uncertainty—not to mention the significant litigation expense—in Indian Country regarding the status of trust land. The Chamber also anticipates that the most favorable path for this legislation is for the House to pass a bill that the Senate can pass by unanimous consent. Realistically, in order for that to happen, the House version will need to reflect a compromise that can be broadly supported.
The Chamber strongly supports your efforts to reach a compromise solution to this decade-old problem, and appreciates your committee’s early engagement on this issue.
Neil L. Bradley