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WASHINGTON — In addition to articles already covered by Native News Online, here is a roundup of other news released from Washington, D.C. that impacts Indian Country recently.

VA Launches New Program to Help More than 40,000 Veterans Stay in Their Homes

The Department of Veterans Affairs will launch a new program — the Veterans Affairs Servicing Purchase (VASP) program — to help more than 40,000 Veterans experiencing severe financial hardship avoid foreclosure and stay in their homes.

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VASP is a new, last-resort tool in VA’s comprehensive suite of home retention options for eligible Veterans, active-duty Service members, and surviving spouses with VA-guaranteed home loans who are experiencing severe financial hardship. Through VASP, VA will purchase defaulted VA loans from mortgage servicers, modify the loans, and then place them in the VA-owned portfolio as direct loans. This will empower VA to work directly with eligible Veterans to adjust their loans — and their monthly payments — so they can keep their homes. With VASP, these borrowers will have a fixed 2.5% interest rate, which will provide a consistent, affordable payment for the remainder of their loan.

Washington State Delegation Celebrates Passage of the Puyallup Tribe of Indians Land Into Trust Act

On Thursday, U.S. Representative Derek Kilmer (WA-06); U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell (WA) and Patty Murray (WA); and U.S. Representative Marilyn Strickland (WA-10) celebrated the House passage of the Puyallup Tribe of Indians Land Into Trust Act. The bill now heads to President Biden’s desk for signature.

The Puyallup Tribe of Indians Land Into Trust Act places more than 17 acres of land currently owned by the Puyallup Tribe into trust, restoring part of the Tribe’s ancestral homeland and facilitating new economic development and job creation opportunities at the Port of Tacoma and on the Tacoma waterfront. 

“This legislation is a big deal because it will help restore the Puyallup Tribe’s homelands – a place that holds deep cultural and historical significance for the Puyallup people,” said Rep. Kilmer. “It’s about enabling the Puyallup Tribe to further diversify and expand economic opportunities and to spur job creation at the Port of Tacoma and along the Tacoma waterfront – a vision of prosperity that benefits not only the Tribe but the entire South Puget Sound region.” 

“Legislation helping the Puyallup Tribe create jobs in South Puget Sound is headed to the President’s desk to be signed into law,” Sen. Cantwell said. “The Puyallup Tribe is an economic force and taking this land into trust allows the Tribe to continue to diversify its economy within its traditional lands on Commencement Bay.”

Consumer Broadband Labels Now Required Naitonwide on Online & In-store Points of Sale

FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel on Wednesday welcomed the start of a new era in broadband price and service transparency. Wednesday’s nationwide launch of the Broadband Consumer Labels means internet service providers are now required to display consumer-friendly labels at the point of sale.

The Broadband Consumer Labels resemble the well-known nutrition labels that appear on food products.  To ensure the label benefits all consumers, the Commission adopted language and accessibility requirements for the label's display.  Labels are required for all standalone home or fixed internet service or mobile broadband plans.  Providers must display the label – not simply an icon or link to the label – in close proximity to an associated plan’s advertisement.

The Broadband Consumer Labels will go a long way toward helping consumers informed purchasing decisions when they are shopping for a broadband provider.  Accurate, simple-to-understand information about broadband internet access services helps consumers make informed choices.  


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