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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.

Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Leaders Provide Legislative Update

With the close of 2023 at hand, U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i), chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, and U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), vice chairman of the Committee, provided an update on the Committee's busy year. During 2023, 11 total Indian Affairs bills passed the U.S. Senate out of 21 that passed the Committee.

Senate passage of H.R. 1722, the Grand Ronde Reservation Act, and H.R. 2839, a bill to amend the Siletz Reservation Act to address the hunting, fishing, trapping, and animal gathering rights of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians, and for other purposes, are set to become law, and the following bills, which head to the House for further consideration:

“These bills are an important part of the Committee’s work to address historical injustices and uphold the federal government’s trust and treaty obligations,” Schatz said. “I look forward to getting these and other Senate-passed Indian Affairs bills across the finish line.”

“From settling Indian land claims and restoring homelands to supporting self-governance and access to housing, the Committee has advanced important tribal priorities this session,”Murkowski said. “I thank Chairman Schatz and my colleagues for their work on these measures and I look forward to continuing our work together next year.”

The five Indian Affairs bills join six others passed by the Senate this session, including two that became law:

FY 2024 Indian Housing Block Grant Formula Interim Funding  Requests in the GEMS Accepted Until Jan. 5th

HUD's Office of Native American Programs (ONAP) is now accepting Indian Housing Block Grant (IHBG) Formula interim funding requests through GEMS up to January 5, 2024. This deadline ensures that awards will be processed prior to the January 19, 2023, expiration of the Continuing Resolution (CR) under which HUD is currently operating. Interim funding requests should be submitted in GEMS. Please refer to the GEMS Grantee Guide for specific instructions on completing and submitting the request. This guide and other GEMS resources can be found at the GEMS webpage.

Interim funding is an advance on IHBG formula funds while under a Continuing Resolution. Recipients with insufficient IHBG funds can seek a partial allocation to sustain housing operations until Congress approves the federal budget for Fiscal Year 2024. Approval for interim funding is contingent upon compliance with and approval of your FY 2024 Indian Housing Plan, as well as a low balance in LOCCS. For further details, consult PIH Notice 2021-28 (Provision of Interim Funding to Indian Housing Block Grant Recipients).

Department of Energy Releases Home Energy Rebate Programs Guide

The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of State and Community Energy Programs (SCEP) is offering a grant of up to $225 million for Tribal governments and Alaska Native entities. The funding is designated for Home Electrification and Appliance Rebates, providing eligible households with up to $14,000 for upgrades focused on energy efficiency and home electrification. For information on program guidelines, please visit the link below.

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