Congress Passes Hoeven-Sponsored Legislation to Promote Economic Opportunities for Tribes, Native Businesses

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven, chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, issued the following statement after Congress passed the Indian Community Economic Enhancement Act of 2020, legislation he authored to improve economic opportunity, provide regulatory relief and increase access to capital for Indian Tribes and native businesses. Hoeven introduced the bill with Senator Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) in January 2019 and secured its passage by the Senate later that year. It has now passed both chambers and will go to the president to be signed into law.

“This legislation provides regulatory relief and resources to better help Tribes attract investment, diversify their economies and create good jobs for their members,” Hoeven said. “This comes as part of our broader efforts to empower tribal communities to determine their own economic future.” 

Specifically, Hoeven’s legislation:

  • Requires the Secretaries of Commerce, Interior and Treasury to:
    • Develop and identify initiatives to promote entrepreneurship and business development learning at tribal colleges and universities (TCUs), including the five TCUs in North Dakota.
    • Streamline programs aimed at increasing economic development in Tribal Communities.
  • Waives the match requirement for Native Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI).
    • This removes a burden that many smaller Native CDFIs cannot meet, providing greater access to the $16 million in grants that Hoeven worked to secure for Native American Initiatives under the Treasury's CDFI Fund.
  • Authorizes technical and financial assistance for Tribal Governments to develop commercial codes that will attract non-tribal business development. 
  • Prioritizes assistance for Tribal communities to work with financial institutions to develop long term master plans for economic development.
  • Directs HHS to, where feasible, purchase goods and services from Native American owned firms and businesses.
  • Codifies a recent Security and Exchange Commission rule to define Tribes as an “accredited investor” for the purposes of participation in U.S. private capital markets.