American Indian Policy Institute
Leading the discourse on tribally-driven, informed policy-making.
Even in the final months of 2021, the 117th United States Congress continues to demonstrate a commitment to working on issues that are important to Indian Country. In addition to holding three hearings on issues critical to Indian Country, Senate and House Committees took action on 19 legislative items in the past month. This year’s Native American Heritage Month included some exciting policy updates.
While negotiations over the Build Back Better Act, H.R.5376 are still ongoing, the bipartisan infrastructure bill, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act was signed into law by President Biden on November 15. The act, H.R.3684, delivers critical federal resources for infrastructure development and support in Indian Country. More than $11 billion is allocated to Tribes and Tribal organizations to support broadband deployment, natural resource management, transportation projects, energy development, environmental remediation, climate resiliency, and water and sanitation facilities construction.
Negotiations over the bipartisan infrastructure bill, H.R.3684 and the Build Back Better Act, H.R.5376 are still ongoing. Both these legislations have the potential to further invest in Tribal nations depending on the final form they end up taking. Beyond that, there have been several important hearings, legislation updates, and administrative action updates that have taken place over the last month. This month’s hearings in both House and Senate committees moved forward important bills such as H.R.1620, the Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization Act of 2021, H.R.2930, the Safeguard Tribal Objects of Patrimony Act of 2021, as well as several land transfer bills. It was also a significant month for administrative actions with a proclamation for Indigenous Peoples Day 2021 and executive orders expanding the protected areas of Bears Ears National Monument and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Please be sure to read our entire update to see a full list of all the important Federal legislative and administrative actions taken this past month.
The bipartisan infrastructure bill, H.R.3684, is awaiting final approval in the house. This bill makes significant investments in roads, transportation, water, climate change mitigation, and broadband connectivity over the next five years. S.Con.Res.14, the budget reconciliation bill could potentially make significant investments in climate mitigation and other areas of need for Indian Country. However, the negotiations for these legislations have stalled and the current form of both bills may have to be modified in order to pass. Please continue to follow AIPI for updates on these and other important legislation affecting Indian Country.
The U.S. House of Representatives is working to approve the amended version of H.R.3684, which is now known as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. This bill makes significant investments in roads, transportation, water, climate change mitigation, and broadband connectivity by appropriating $650 billion to Indian Country over the next five years. There is also the potential to bolster that investment with $20 billion dollars over the next nine years to be appropriated through the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs through S.Con.Res.14.
Congress continued its work holding hearings and taking legislative actions this past month. Members of Congress are working to finalize the details of a significant infrastructure package in line with President Biden’s American Jobs Plan before the end of July because Congress will likely enter into a summer recess for the month of August. H.R.3684, The INVEST in America Act, is the House’s version of an infrastructure package that is focused on surface infrastructure and transportation. This bill makes significant investments in Tribal road and transportation programs and may offer a glimpse of what the Senate version of the Infrastructure package might look like. There was also important legislation outlining the proposed budget for the Department of Interior’s FY2022 budget and legislation addressing Indian Health Service facilities. On the administrative side, there were important notices for upcoming Tribal consultations and funding opportunities.