Udall Statement on Senate Passage of PROGRESS for Indian Tribes Act to Further Tribal Self-Determination

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Udall Statement on Senate Passage of PROGRESS for Indian Tribes Act to Further Tribal Self-Determination

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.), vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, released the following statement after the U.S. Senate passed the PROGRESS for Indian Tribes Act by voice vote last week. The bipartisan bill creates consistency and builds greater efficiency for Tribes that operate self-governance programs under authorities first authorized by the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act of 1975 (ISDEAA).

“I’m proud to be an original cosponsor of the PROGRESS for Indian Tribes Act, and to have worked to get this critical bill over the finish line,” Udall said. “This bipartisan legislation would amend the Indian Self-Determination Education Assistance Act for the first time in nearly two decades — fixing current gaps and flaws that hinder the full exercise of tribal self-governance of key Department of Interior programs.

“This year marks the 30th anniversary celebration of tribal self-governance,” Udall continued. “So it’s particularly timely that we came together to improve the most successful tribal-federal partnership in this country’s history.”

The ISDEAA, as amended, authorizes Tribes to exercise greater self-determination and self-governance through the administration of federal Indian programs and services at the Department of the Interior and the Indian Health Service in the Department of Health and Human Services.  Congress expanded self-governance authority to programs at the Department of Transportation in 2015.

Approximately 360 of the 573 federally recognized Tribes participate in an ISDEAA self-governance program. Under ISDEAA, Tribes have successfully developed their local economies, built greater governmental capacities, and improved federal programs by making them more responsive to Tribal needs at the local level. 

The bill will now be sent to the House of Representatives for consideration. The full text of the bill can be found here.