September 21, 2020
TO THE MEMBERS OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce supports S. 209, the “Practical Reforms and Other Goals To Reinforce the Effectiveness of Self-Governance and Self-Determination (PROGRESS) for Indian Tribes Act,” bipartisan legislation that would amend the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (P.L. 93-638) to streamline the Department of Interior (DoI) process for approving self-governance compacts and annual funding agreements with tribes. This bill would also align DoI’s process with those used by the Indian Health Service.
The need for this legislation is two-fold. First, a single, codified, process for tribes to follow in self-governance compacting would bring certainty to tribes and streamline administration. Second, the legislation would address a perception among tribes that DoI has historically failed to adequately devolve core responsibilities of self-governance back to Indian Country.
This legislation has been fine-tuned since it was originally introduced in 2003. S. 209 is identical to compromise legislation agreed upon in the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs in the last Congress, and the House Committee on Natural Resources approved S. 209 in December 2019.
The Chamber strongly supports S. 209 and urges the House to pass this important legislation.
Neil L. Bradley