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Senate Indian Affairs Committee tackles economic development






The Senate Indian Affairs Committee held an oversight hearing on economic development on Wednesday and heard some of the challenges facing businesses in Indian Country.

For the second year in a row, Indian Country has been shut out of the New Markets Tax Credit program, which is designed to aid low-income communities. Dennis Nolan, the deputy director of the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund at the Treasury Department, wouldn't explain why but suggested that more participation is needed.

"In the last round of 2013, we actually only had two Native CDFIs that actually applied," Nolan told the committee.

Nolan also wouldn't explain why CDFIs in Alaska have not benefited. But he said other institutions that serve the state have participated in the program.

Gary Davis, the president and CEO of the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development, called on Congress to do more to encourage development in Indian Country. He said enforcement of the Buy Indian Act and increases to the Indian Loan Guarantee Program will help.

Kevin Allis, the executive director of the Native American Contractors Association, said Congress can help business in Indian Country by repealing a cap imposed on small federal contracts. Section 811 of the 2010 National Defense Authorization Act has led to a 60 percent drop in contracts greater than $20 million, according to his testimony.

The hearing lasted about an hour and four minutes. Audio can be found on the Indianz.Com Sound Cloud.

Get the Story:
Officials: Investors often overlook opportunities on tribal lands (Cronkite News Service 6/26)

Committee Notice:
Oversight Hearing on "Economic Development: Encouraging Investment in Indian Country" (June 25, 2014)

Related Stories:
Senate Indian Affairs Committee hearing on tribal economies (6/23)