National | Politics

Senate Indian Affairs Committee approves four bills at meeting

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-North Dakota) with youth from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. Photo from Twitter

The Senate Indian Affairs Committee approved four bills at a business meeting this afternoon.

All four bills were previously approved by the committee during the last session of Congress. They also boast bipartisan support.

"I’m pleased the committee wasted no time in passing bipartisan legislation that will help improve the lives of people throughout Indian Country," Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyoming), the chairman, said in a press release.

“America has a trust responsibility to our tribes, and we must do a better job living up to our commitments to this generation and future generations,” Sen. Jon Tester (D-Montana) , the vice chair of the committee, said in a press release. “These bipartisan bills will ensure folks in Indian Country have a brighter, safer future.”

The four bills are:
S.184, the Native American Children's Safety Act. The bill amends the Indian Child Protection and Family Violence Prevention Act to require background checks before foster care placements are ordered in tribal court proceedings.
S.209, the Indian Tribal Energy Development and Self-Determination Act Amendments. The bill streamlines the review and approval process for tribal energy agreements at the Interior Department.
S.246, the Alyce Spotted Bear and Walter Soboleff Commission on Native Children Act. The bill sets up a commission to study issues affecting American Indian and Alaska Native youth.
S.286, a bill to amend the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act to improve the self-governance compacting process.

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-North Dakota) praised the approval of S.246. She's been championing the bill since the last session of Congress.

"Last Congress I proposed this commission as my first bill as a Senator, and was joined by a chorus of bipartisan support – now I’m building on that momentum," Heitkamp said in a press release. "Today’s unanimous consensus on the part of the Indian Affairs Committee let our Native kids know: you’re not alone.

Committee Notice:
Business Meeting to Consider S. 184, S. 209, S. 246 and S. 286 (February 4, 2014)

Related Stories:
Senate Indian Affairs Committee business meeting and hearing (2/2)

Join the Conversation