"As Congress wrapped up the first of two lame-duck sessions on Thursday, lawmakers failed to pass any legislative proposals that would assist tribes during the country's economic storm.
The National Congress of American Indians, an organization of more than 250 tribes, had been pushing Congress to address infrastructure spending and access to capital as part of the broader multibillion-dollar economic stimulus bill.
“We are still actively trying to get the tax-exempt bond issue, which is a tribal access-to-credit issue,” said Dante Desiderio, a National Congress of American Indians legislative assistant.
“We've made a lot of headway in this session. When Congress gets back together on Dec. 8 for a second lame-duck session, we're hoping to be a part of that - at the very least, to be a part of the government spending stimulus plan at the beginning of the year,” Desiderio said.
Prior to the national economic downturn now crushing the automobile industry and financial markets, tribal communities were already feeling the effect of high unemployment rates - which traditionally hover above 50 percent in many rural areas.
Meanwhile, more than 1.2 million jobs have been lost across the country as the civilian jobless rate reached 6.5 percent, a 14-year high."
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No tribal aid in 1st lame-duck congressional session
(The Missoulian 11/21)