House Democrats Introduce The Moving Forward Act

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House Democrats Introduce The Moving Forward Act

June 23, 2020

On Monday, June 22nd, 2020, the House Democrats unveiled H.R. 2 The Moving Forward Act. This comprehensive legislation aims to rebuild and invest in American infrastructure including: roads, highways, transit systems, housing, schools, broadband, healthcare, drinking and wastewater systems, and clean energy.

Included in this legislation are several provisions related to transportation, community, and infrastructure development in Indian Country. The Moving Forward Act seeks to improve tribal governments access to tax credits and promote investment in tribal infrastructure projects:

Title IV- Housing

  • Low Income Housing Tax Credit (Sec 90607): Tribal areas are now defined as distressed areas. Housing projects in tribal areas are eligible for a 30% basis boost.

Title VII - Tribal Development:  

  • Tax Exempt Bonds (Sec. 90701): Tribal governments will be treated the same as state governments in terms of bond issuance. The Secretary of the Treasury will establish a national bond volume cap for tribal governments wishing to issue bonds. The “Essential Governmental Function” test, in which tribes had to prove projects were essential for governmental function, is repealed.
     
  • Tribal Foundations and Charities (Sec. 90702.): Charitable organizations formed to support tribal governments will not be treated the same as organizations formed to support state and local governments.
     
  • New Markets Tax Credit: (Sec. 90703): Amends the definition of a low-income community to improve tribal community access to New Markets Tax Credit. Promotes investment in tribal communities by allocating credits to Community Development Entities that intend to use the cash from a Quality Equity Investment to make qualified low-income community investments in proportion to the U.S. population of Native Americans.
Other tribal provisions found within the 2,309 page bill include:

Office of Tribal Government Affairs (Sec. 1506.)
  • An Office of Tribal Government Affairs, under the Assistant Secretary for Tribal Government Affairs is established to: oversee the Tribal transportation self-governance program; plan, coordinate, and implement policies and programs serving Indian Tribes and Tribal organizations; coordinate Tribal transportation programs and activities in all offices and administrations of the Department provide technical assistance to Indian Tribes and Tribal Organizations; and be a participant in any negotiated rulemakings related to, or having an impact on, projects programs, or funding associated with the tribal transportation program.
Report on Electricity Access and Reliability (Sec. 33162.)
  • The Secretary of energy shall conduct an assessment of the status of access to electricity in Indian Country in Consultation with Indian Tribes and organizations
21st Century Indian Health Program Hospitals and Outpatient Health Care Facilities (Sec. 34104.)
  • $5 billion for fiscal year 2021-2025 for the planning, design, construction, modernization, and renovation of hospitals and outpatient health care facilities that are funded, in whole or part, by the Service through, or provided for in, a contract or compact with the Service under the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (25 U.S.C. 5301 et seq.), including to address COVID-19 and other subsequent public health crises.
Native American Housing Block Grant Program (Sec. 60008.)
  • $1 billion to the Native American Block Grant Program. Not less than 10 percent shall be used only for activities relating to water and energy efficiency and, at the Secretary’s discretion, other strategies to enhance the environmental sustainability of housing production and design.
Indian Health Services Sanitation Facilities Construction Program Funding (Sec. 81612.)
  • $2.67 billion per year between 2020 and 2024 to the Secretary of Health and Human Services for the planning, design, construction, modernization, improvement, and renovation of water, sewer, and solid waste sanitation facilities that are funded, in whole or part, by the Indian Health Service through, or provided for in, a contract or compact with the Service under the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (25 U.S.C. 5301 et seq.).


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For any other questions or concerns, please contact Lacina Onco at Lacina@nafoa.org or (202) 603-3943.