Senate Passes Bill Aiming to Stimulate Economic Development in Indian Country

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Senate Passes Bill Aiming to Stimulate Economic Development in Indian Country

March 29, 2018

The Senate voted to pass the Indian Economic Enhancement Act of 2017 (S.1116). The bill, sponsored by the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs (SCIA) Chairman John Hoeven (R-ND), aims to stimulate growth in Indian Country by improving access to capital, encouraging investment in tribal communities, and increasing opportunities for Native businesses. The bill will now head to the House, where Rep. Norma Torres (D-CA) has introduced similar legislation (H.R. 4506).

Section 3: Native American Business Development, Trade Promotion, and Tourism Act of 2000

  • Requires interagency coordination between the secretaries of the Commerce, Interior, and Treasury Departments to develop initiatives encouraging investment in Indian communities.
  • Elevates the director for Indian programs in the Department of Commerce and authorizes operational funding for up to $2,000,000 for each fiscal year.
  • States that the Department of Commerce must be accountable for consultation with Indian tribes regarding policies, programs, assistance, and activities of the office and agency.

Section 8: Indian Community Development Initiatives

  • Makes permanent the waiver of the requirement for Native community development financial institutions (CDFIs) to provide a matching cost share for assistance received from the Treasury CDFI.
  • Requires consultation with Indian tribes and with the Securities and Exchange Commission to determine statutory or regulatory changes necessary to qualify an Indian tribe as an accredited investor.
  • Calls for an economic development feasibility study and initiatives that assess and quantify the assistance provided to loan and bond guarantee programs and other programs under the CDFI Fund.
  • Develops initiatives to identify legal or other barriers to increasing investment, business, and economic development, including approving collateral structures.

Section 4: The Buy Indian Act

  • Facilitates the use of the Buy Indian Act by ensuring the BIA and the Indian Health Service consider the act in procurement decisions by requiring agencies to make a determination as long as it is practicable and reasonable.

Section 5: Native American Programs Act of 1974

  • Reauthorizes the Native American Programs Act.
  • Prioritizes economic development program applications and technical assistance for building tribal court systems and code development for economic development, supporting CDFIs, and developing master plans for community and economic development.

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