New Bill Aims to Stimulate Economic Development in Indian Country
Our friends at NAFOA (Native American Finance Officers Association) have put out a call to action.
A new bill introduced by the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs (SCIA) aims to stimulate growth in Indian Country by improving access to capital, encouraging investment in tribal communities, and increasing opportunities for Native businesses. The Indian Economic Enhancement Act of 2017 (S.1116) would help define capital needs for Indian Country and address some of the persistent challenges to economic growth. The bill is sponsored by SCIA Chairman John Hoeven (R-ND).
NAFOA and First Nations urge tribal governments to support the efforts of the committee by contacting your senators to co-sponsor the bill. (You can find your senators here: https://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/)
Some key provisions of the act are as follows:
Section 3: The 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.
- 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.
Section 8: Indian Community Development Initiatives
- 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.
- Develops an economic development feasibility study that assesses and quantifies the extent of assistance provided to non-Indian borrowers and to Indian borrowers through loan and bond guarantee programs.
- Develops initiatives to identify legal or other barriers to increasing investment, business and economic development, including approving collateral structures.
Section 23: 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 economic development programs.
- 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.
You can find your senators here: https://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/
You can see the current members of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs here: https://www.indian.senate.gov/about/committee-members
You can see S.1116 – Indian Economic Enhancement Act of 2017 here.