Senate approves bill to streamline self-governance process at DOI

Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyoming). Photo from Senate Indian Affairs Committee

The Senate approved S.286, the Department of the Interior Tribal Self-Governance Act, by unanimous consent on Tuesday.

The bill streamlines the self-governance process at the Department of the Interior. It adopts changes proposed by tribes to make it easier to take control of federal programs.

“Self-determination and self-governance helps promote local tribal decision-making for important programs that affect their communities,” Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyoming), the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, said when he introduced the bill in February. “For years, tribes have faced bureaucratic roadblocks when trying to implement these programs. By making key improvements to the way self-governance works in the Department of the Interior, this bill gives tribes the tools they need to tailor Federal programs to the needs of their local communities.”

The bipartisan bill has the support of the Obama administration. It is considered non-controversial -- consideration took less than 30 seconds yesterday.

"The bill would amend how contracts are negotiated between the tribes and the Department of the Interior and would establish new guidelines for administering the program," the Congressional Budget Office said in its analysis.

"Based on information provided by DOI, CBO estimates that implementing the legislation would have no significant effect on the federal budget over the 2015-2020 period, " the analysis stated.

The bill awaits consideration in the House.

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