Law | National | Politics

Congress passes bill with tribal disaster declaration section

A bill that will allow tribes to request disaster declarations directly from the federal government is headed to President Barack Obama for his signature.

Under the Stafford Act, only states can request declarations. The new bill, H.R.152, amends the law to recognize tribal sovereignty.

“For more than a decade Indian tribes have sought a direct line to the Federal government in order expedite aid during an emergency or major disaster,” said Rep. Nick Rahall (D-West Virginia), who championed the provision. “Now, with this action by both Houses of Congress, they will finally be able to access appropriate federal assistance when unforeseen adversity hits. This is a great day for Indian Country and for tribal sovereignty.”

The Senate passed H.R.152 on Monday. The bill passed the House on January 15.

The tribal provisions are found in Section 1110 of the bill, which provides $50 billion for recovery efforts related to Hurricane Sandy.

Join the Conversation