Senate Indian Affairs Committee holds first meeting and hearing

Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyoming) speaks at the Senate Indian Affairs Committee's first business meeting and hearing of the 114th Congress. Also pictured, from left to right: Sen. Jon Tester (D-Montana), Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Washington) and Sen. Al Franken (D-Minnesota). Photo by Indianz.Com

The Senate Indian Affairs Committee held its first business meeting and oversight hearing this afternoon.

The proceeding was moved up a half hour and went quicker than expected due to a series of votes that were scheduled on the Senate. Nonetheless, the committee managed to select a new chairman -- Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyoming) -- and a vice chairman -- Sen. Jon Tester (D-Montana) -- as well as adopt rules and a funding resolution during the meeting portion.

The committee also heard from five tribal, Indian and youth leaders who testified about their priorities in health, education, economic development, policy and youth areas. But there was no time for an official question and answer session because lawmakers had to leave to vote on some 18 amendments to S.1, the Keystone XL Pipeline Act.

“I called this hearing to start this Congress because it is Indian Country that we must engage when evaluating federal Indian policy and legislation," Barrasso said at the onset of the proceeding.

The business meeting and hearing lasted about 40 minutes. Audio can be found on the Indianz.Com SoundCloud.

Committee Notices:
Organizational Business Meeting (January 28, 2015)
Oversight Hearing on "Indian Country Priorities for the 114th Congress" (January 28, 2015)

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