TO THE MEMBERS OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce urges Congress to consider legislation to address the negative impacts on tribes across the country resulting from the Supreme Court’s decision in Carcieri v. Salazar. We are, however, concerned that the failure to adopt amendments during the markup of H.R. 375 will negatively affect the bipartisan and bicameral support necessary for enactment.
As the Chamber noted in an April 30, 2019 letter to the Committee on Natural Resources, “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.”
We hope that Congress can reach a near-term compromise on a path forward to treat all 573 tribes equitably. Two issues in particular need to be addressed to create a lasting solution that has a realistic path towards passage in the Senate:
1. A limitation on the location of the land to be acquired by a tribe relative to their current reservation boundaries.
2. Tribal engagement with contiguous jurisdictions in land acquisition applications in order for them to fast-track their land-into-trust acquisitions.
The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs went to great lengths to strike that compromise during the 114th Congress, and the Chamber is hopeful that legislation in the House can be introduced that takes these issues into account in any future Carcieri fix legislation.
We look forward to working with all members to find a compromise that can be signed into law to address this decade-old problem.
Neil L. Bradley