Native American Legislative Update: July 2012
Copyright © flickr user cliff1066, under creative commons license
This is a huge victory for Indian Country! After the House approved the HEARTH Act in May, the Senate recently approved identical legislation which Native Americans and fellow advocates have been working towards for a long time. Now it goes to the President desk to be signed into law.
The Senate has passed one version of the "Farm Bill" and the House is now considering another version. The bill includes essential anti-hunger programs which have been threatened with serious cuts in funding in both versions of the bill. Many Native Americans would be deeply affected by these cuts.
The Department of Education recently released a report which describes the condition of education for American Indian and Alaska Native students in the United States. Efforts to pass the CLASS Act, legislation that would improve education in Indian Country, are stalled in Congress.
The good news is that funding for Native American programs has fared relatively well so far. None of the appropriations bills are expected to make it through the whole process - they'll form the basis for some kind of spending agreement in September.
- No visible movement on the Violence Against Women Act reauthorization other than a request for a hearing on the high level of rape in Indian Country.
- The FBI also appears to be working on better relations with Indian nations.
- Both Houses have held hearings on federal recognition of Native tribes.