Hoeven Working to Empower Economic Growth, Improve Public Safety & Ensure Better Access to Education, Health Care & Housing for Tribal Members

Senator Addresses UTTC Tribal Leaders Summit, Gives Legislative Update as Indian Affairs Committee Chairman

BISMARCK, N.D. – At United Tribes Technical College’s (UTTC) Tribal Leaders Summit today, Senator John Hoeven, chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, outlined his ongoing efforts on behalf of Tribes to:

  • Support greater economic opportunity and self-governance.
  • Improve public safety.
  • Ensure better access to quality education, health care and housing, including for Native American veterans

Hoeven also commended the work of the UTTC leaders and staff over its 50-year history, noting the institution’s contributions to advancing these priorities for tribes in the region. Through his role on the Senate Appropriations Committee, the senator has worked to ensure strong federal support for tribal technical colleges like UTTC through annual funding legislation.

“We’re working in a bipartisan way to advance the goals of Tribes here in North Dakota and across the nation,” said Hoeven. “Institutions like UTTC play an important role in these efforts, especially as we strive to expand economic opportunities in Native American communities. Over the past 50 years, this college has helped tribal members prepare for good jobs and take the leap into entrepreneurship, and we appreciate their continued work. We are also focused on improving the safety and quality of life in Indian Country. We are advancing legislation to give greater assistance to Native American victims of crime and empower law enforcement to prevent violence and bring offenders to justice. At the same time, we are working to address Indian veteran homelessness through the Tribal HUD-VASH program and continue our efforts to ensure access to quality services under the Bureau of Indian Education and Indian Health Service.”

Chairman Hoeven has introduced, cosponsored and helped advance the following legislation and initiatives to improve the quality of life for tribal members, both on and off the reservation:

Economic Development & Self-Governance

  • The PROGRESS for Indian Tribes Act, bipartisan legislation that would streamline the Department of the Interior’s process for approving self-governance compacts and provide Indian Tribes with greater flexibility to plan, conduct, consolidate and administer federal programs for their communities.
  • The Indian Community Economic Enhancement (ICEE) Act of 2019, a bill to help spur economic development in tribal communities by increasing access to capital for Indian businesses, attracting investment in Tribal communities, supporting Native American Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and streamlining federal economic development programs.
  • The AUTOS Act authorizes increased funding from $30 million up to $50 million for the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Road Maintenance program and the Tribal Transportation Program’s Safety Fund. Further, the legislation would streamline the Interior Department’s approval of certain traffic safety projects on reservations. The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee is working to reauthorize the transportation bill, and the senator successfully included his AUTOS Act in the bill that was approved by the committee in July.

Public Safety

  • The SURVIVE Act, bipartisan legislation to expand critical victims services by requiring a 5 percent allocation from the Crime Victims Fund (CVF) for Indian Tribes, dedicating more than $150 million per year to assist victims of crime on the reservations. Despite high rates of victimization, in the past Indian Tribes have received less than 1 percent of CVF resources.
  • The Tribal Law and Order Reauthorization and Amendments (TLOA) Act of 2019, a bill to reauthorize and strengthen several key programs to improve tribal justice and public safety for Indian communities.
  • Hoeven is also cosponsoring Savanna’s Act, legislation that requires reporting on missing and murdered Native Americans and directs the Department of Justice and the Department of the Interior to consult with Indian Tribes while developing national law enforcement guidelines.

Education, Health Care & Housing

  • The Tribal HUD-VASH Act of 2019, a bipartisan bill to provide rental assistance and supportive services for homeless or at-risk Indian veterans. The bill would set aside at least five percent of Housing and Urban Development-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) resources for Tribes and Tribal housing authorities. The bill would also ensure that HUD and the VA modify the initiative through tribal consultation to better guide these newly-available resources to homeless Native American veterans.
  • Hoeven helped secure $200 million under the Indian Housing Block Grant across fiscal years 2018 and 2019 for competitive grants to improve tribal housing, which come in addition to the program’s formula funding.
  • Hoeven continues working to ensure the Indian Health Service and the Bureau of Indian Education improve accountability, address deficiencies and mismanagement and strengthen important health care and education services available to Indian families.