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House chairman supports self-governance rider
Tuesday, October 14, 2003

The chairman of the House Resources Committee is backing an appropriations rider that would shield self-governance tribes from the ongoing reorganization at the Department of Interior.

In a September 30 letter, Rep. Richard Pombo (R-Calif.) said the provision will help tribes who have contracted trust management duties from the federal government by maintaining existing relationships and funding arrangements. He urged Rep. Charles Taylor (R-N.C.), head of the House Interior Appropriations subcommittee, to include the rider in the final version of Interior's budget bill that is still being negotiated.

"The Trust Reform Demonstration Project would allow ten tribes to continue their successful trust management systems as they currently exist," Pombo wrote. "This would allow the preservation of successful trust management systems while wholesale trust reform within the DOI is evaluated."

Tribal leaders testified before Pombo's committee last week. They supported the rider, known as Section 134, and said it would prevent the reorganization from hurting their systems.

A joint House-Senate conference committee continues work on the Interior budget bill this week. The House version does not include the Trust Reform Demonstration Project.

The full text of Section 134 reads:
Notwithstanding any implementation of the Department of the Interior's trust reorganization plan within fiscal years 2003 or 2004, funds appropriated for fiscal year 2004 shall be available to the tribes within the California Tribal Trust Reform Consortium and to the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community, the Confederated Salish-Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Reservation and the Chippewa Cree Tribe of the Rocky Boys Reservation and the Bureau of Indian Affairs Regional offices that serve them, on the same basis as funds were distributed in fiscal year 2003. The Demonstration Project shall operate separate and apart from the Department of the Interior's trust reform reorganization, and the Department shall not impose its trust management infrastructure upon or alter the existing trust resource management systems of the California Trust Reform Consortium and any other participating tribe having a self-governance compact and operating in accordance with the Tribal Self-Governance Program set forth in 25 U.S.C. Sections 458aa-458hh

Relevant Documents:
Pombo Letter (September 30, 2003)

DOI Budget Bills:
H.R.2691 | H.Rept.108-195 | S.1391 | S.Rept.108-89

Related Stories:
Tribal leaders assail reorganization (10/10)
House panel takes testimony on self-governance (10/8)

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