American Indian Policy Institute
Leading the discourse on tribally-driven, informed policy-making.
Congress held several hearings, roundtable discussions, and a markup hearing over the last month on legislation relevant to Indian Country. In addition to that, there was action taken on 11 bills affecting Indian Country. Important legislation such as S.1471, also known as the Safeguard Tribal Objects of Patrimony Act of 2021 continued its way through the legislative process. S.1471 was referred favorably out of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. There was also newly introduced legislation such as H.R.4054 that could have important tax implications for Tribal Nations. Overall, Congress continues its work to negotiate major initiatives such as comprehensive infrastructure investment and voting rights. At the time of this publication, President Biden and members of the Senate have reached an agreement on an infrastructure bill addressing highways, bridges, railroads, and broadband. Details of this potential infrastructure bill are forthcoming so please continue to follow AIPI for more information as it becomes available.
This month an important funding opportunity for public transportation on Tribal lands was published in the Federal Registry. This notice of funding has an application deadline of August 25, 2021. There are other notices for funding, as well as notices for upcoming meetings of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Review Committee as well as a Tribal consultation with the Veterans Health Administration.
Congress held four hearings and considered 25 legislative actions relevant to Indian Country this past month. The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs continued to hold hearings examining the COVID-19 response in Native communities by examining Native education systems and Native tourism economies. There were also legislative actions to reauthorize important programs in the Violence Against Women Act in addition to legislation supporting Native language maintainence and revitalization programs.
A critical administrative action was published this past month in the Federal Registry concerning the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). The Treasury published its Interim Final Rule containing regulations and guidance on using ARPA funding. In addition to that there were also important notices to nominate Tribal members to advisory boards and grant funding opportunities.
The 55th Arizona State legislature is on its 136th day of its first session and will not be able to adjourn until a budget is passed. However, budget legislation is just now beginning the committee process in the Arizona Legislature at the time of this publication. The Arizona Senate is also still conducting its audit of the 2020 Maricopa County election results, and the audit may continue well into the month of June. Legislative activity has slowed down greatly, but there was still one bill addressing a recommendation made by the Arizona Study Committee on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
Congress was occupied with several nominations from the Biden administration and busy negotiating major initiatives like the American Jobs Plan in the month of April. Still, Congress took action on nine bills and resolutions pertinent to Indian Country. New initiatives include a heightened emphasis on the importance of clean reliable drinking water and a resolution recognizing the significance of the Eagle Staff and acknowledging a renewed commitment to working with Tribal Nations. April also included important hearings on S.915, the Save Oak Flat Act, and on infrastructure needs in Indigenous communities with testimony from our own Executive Director, Dr. Traci Morris, PhD.
Federal agency actions were plentiful this month, with important notices including a call for nominations for an open position on the Treasury’s Tribal Advisory Committee and information about several upcoming Tribal consultations. Further, multiple agencies are seeking comment as they develop distribution formulas for money allocated to Indian Country from the American Rescue Plan Act and the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021.