The National Center Continues to Push Key Indian Country Economic Development Legislation

Chairman Watchman met with Congressman Tom Cole’s (R-OK) staff; Cole is a member of the Chickasaw Nation.

Published September 29, 2017

National Center Chairman Derrick Watchman meets with Members of the House, staff to urge support for S. 1116 and S. 607

WASHINGTON  Derrick Watchman, Chairman of the Board for the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development (the National Center), was in Washington, DC this week to urge the House of Representatives to move forward with legislation designed to boost economic development in Indian Country. S. 1116, The Indian Community Economic Enhancement Act, and S. 607, The Native American Business Incubators Program Act, have both passed out of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee but do not yet have House companion legislation. Chairman Watchman met with Members and staff to urge support for and action on this critical legislation.

Chairman Watchman spotted an award from RES 2012 in Congressman Don Young’s (R-AK) office.

“The Senate Indian Affairs Committee quickly passed these bills earlier this year, but as of now the legislation lacks necessary House companions,” said Derrick Watchman. “We’re doing our part to change that, and discussing with members and staff why access to capital and a specific focus on economic development in Indian Country is needed. I look forward to continuing our conversations and seeing these bills signed into law so they can make a difference for our community.”

The Indian Community Economic Enhancement Act of 2016, introduced by Indian Affairs Chairman John Hoeven (R-ND) and Senator John McCain (R-AZ), amends several existing laws with the general focus of enhancing access to capital and improving economic opportunity in tribal communities. Specifically, S. 1116 updates and improves the Native American Business Development, Trade Promotion, and Tourism Act of 2000; the Buy Indian Act; and The Native American Programs Act of 1974. Many of these proposals have long been priorities for the National Center and other Native American organizations.

Highlights of the legislation include:

  • Better interagency coordination between the Departments of Commerce, Interior, and Treasury on Indian Country initiatives.
  • Elevating the Director for Indian programs to report directly to the Secretary of Commerce.
  • Promoting consultation on Securities and Exchange Commission regulations to move toward treating Indian tribes as accredited investors.
  • Studying the application of, and ways to enhance, various federal loan guarantee and other economic development programs and incentives to improve delivery to and support for Indian communities.
  • Improvements to and support for Native CDFIs.
  • Increasing Buy Indian Act procurements by the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Indian Health Service, and improving accountability for the program.
  • Reauthorize the Native American Programs Act and enhance its socio-economic development grant program.


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