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Cobell | Opinion
Sen. Barrasso: Trust fund settlement spends taxpayer dollars


"As vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, I have a responsibility to oversee the Cobell legislation before the Senate. In April, I approached Indian tribes across the country to get their feedback about the Cobell legislation.

After listening to the concerns and opinions of Indian Country, I proposed a few key changes to the settlement -- including lowering the cap on attorney fees from $100 million to $50 million. This change would allow the additional funding to be distributed among tribal members. Tribal organizations for the Northwest and Great Plains, as well as numerous individual tribal members, have expressed public support for my amendment.

You reported that my effort to amend the legislation would nullify the settlement. In fact, the parties themselves have substantively changed the settlement several times without voiding the current legislation. My changes could be easily incorporated and would directly benefit tribal members.

While I would like to see Congress finalize the Cobell legislation as soon as possible, we should not simply rubber stamp this $3.4 billion agreement. As our country continues to face a $13 trillion deficit, Congress should carefully review and improve any legislation that spends 3.4 billion taxpayer dollars."

Get the Story:
Sen. John Barrasso: Senator defends amendment (The Casper Star-Tribune 6/30)

American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act:
Press Release: Baucus, Levin To Release Joint Legislation To Create Jobs, Extend Tax Cuts for Families and Businesses, Support Americans Looking for Work | Background and More Information

Cobell Settlement Documents:
Agreement | Press Release | Q&A | Audio

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