indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+ indianz.com on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
Master of Jurisprudence in Indian Law - University of Tulsa College of Law
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines

printer friendly version
GOP votes in House beat challenges to trust fund rider
Friday, October 31, 2003

The House narrowly approved the Department of Interior's $20 billion spending bill on Thursday over objections to a provision that limits a court-ordered accounting of the Indian trust.

Last evening, the chamber rejected two challenges to the package. Indian Country advocates fought to send the bill back to a conference committee for further work, and when that failed, to reject it entirely.

The roll call against final passage of H.R.2691 underscored the influence of the Congressional Native American Caucus, a bipartisan group of 111 lawmakers.(*) Lobbying efforts by the members and staff of the caucus contributed to the 216-205 vote, a 51 percent to 49 percent split in the Republican-controlled House.

But the Republican-Democrat alliance was fractured when Rep. Richard Pombo (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Resources Committee, withdrew support for the effort to send the bill back to the conference committee. His backing was needed to bring other Republicans on board.

Pombo still voted against passage of the bill even though it contained wildfire funds for his state. But Indian advocates considered the motion to recommit extremely crucial because they knew they would lose some Democrat support on final passage.

On the other hand, they knew almost all Democrats supported the recommit. With the help of House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California, 92 percent of Democrats voted "yes" on the motion. But only seven Republicans did.

Congressional aides and lobbyists outside of Congress said Pombo initially supported the motion to recommit. A letter distributed on Wednesday within the House, in fact, indicated that he and other prominent Indian Country supporters -- including Reps. J.D. Hayworth (R-Ariz.) and Dale Kildee (D-Mich), the co-chairs of the Native American Caucus -- would fight to send the bill back to the conference committee.

His stance changed later in the day after he met with House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, Republican of Texas. Pombo's staff confirmed the meeting but downplayed suggestions that he was pressured to change his mind.

DeLay, known for his strong-arm tactics, told Pombo "Do what you gotta do," a Pombo aide said. DeLay staff did not return a request for comment.

Hayworth was said to be pressured by the Republican leadership as well. But he bucked his party and voted not only to send the bill back to the conference committee but against final passage even though it contains fire money for his state. Rep. Rick Renzi (R-Ariz.), a newer friend Indian Country, also voted against final passage but did not support the motion to recommit.

The approval of the bill brought criticism from Elouise Cobell, the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit that has secured the rights of 500,000 American Indians throughout the country. In a statement, she said the Bush administration was behind the rider to overturn a recent court victory.

"What this vote shows is the length that the Interior Secretary and the Bush administration will go to in their efforts to deny Indians the accounting for funds that belong to Indians ?- not the federal government," she said. Department officials have denied knowledge of being involved.

The plaintiffs, however, are confident the measure will be overturned when challenged in court. They will assert it violates the separation of powers clause in the U.S. Constitution due to legislative interference with the judicial branch.

The provision purports to delay, by one year, the accounting of at least $13 billion in funds collected on Indian lands since 1887. It also purports to dictate how the courts should interpret the 1994 American Indian Trust Reform Act, which calls for an accounting of "all funds" within the trust.

"This is, simply put, appalling," said Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.), ranking member of the House Resources Committee, on the floor yesterday. "It is an affront to the American system of government, including to our judiciary, and undermines the longstanding trust responsibility we have had for Indian nations and individuals."

On September 25, U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth affirmed that the Department of Interior has a trust responsibility to account for "all funds." He rejected several limits the Bush administration sought to impose on its duties. Hayworth and Kildee, in an October 17 letter, called those restrictions arbitrary.

Lamberth ordered the government to complete the accounting by 2006 for most accounts and by 2007 for the rest. The rider would upset the time schedule while seeking to to shield Interior from abiding by the court order.

The one-year delay gives the plaintiffs, Interior and Congress time to resolve the case, Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-Colo.) said at a Senate hearing on Wednesday. Campbell sat on the conference committee that accepted the rider, but said he was not happy with the way it happened.

The Senate has yet to take up the Interior bill.

*Ed. Note: The Congressional Native American Caucus currently has 111 members, not 96 as previously stated.

Roll Call:
On Motion to Recommit the Conference Report | On Agreeing to the Conference Report

Conference Committee Report:
House Report. 108-330 | PDF Version

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

Relevant Bills:
Campbell: Indian Money Account Claim Satisfaction Act of 2003 (S.1770) | Daschle: Indian Trust Payment Equity Act of 2003 (S.1540)

Congressional Native American Caucus Letter:
J.D. Hayworth/Dale Kildee (October 17, 2003)

Court Decisions:
Historical Accounting | Fixing the System | Structural Injunction

Relevant Links:
Indian Trust: Cobell v. Norton - http://www.indiantrust.com
Cobell v. Norton, Department of Justice - http://www.usdoj.gov/civil/cases/cobell/index.htm
Indian Trust, Department of Interior - http://www.doi.gov/indiantrust

Related Stories:
Battle brews in House over DOI budget bill (10/30)
Cobell rallies support for trust fund case (10/28)
DOI bill halts Indian trust fund case (10/24)
Bill targets Indian trust fund suit (10/22)
House chairman supports self-governance rider (10/14)
Self-governance tribes fear impact of reorganization (10/09)
Lamberth lays out future of Indian trust reform (09/26)
Court report finds undervaluation of Navajo lands (08/21)
Administration eyes consolidation of Indian appraisals (08/15)
Tally for private attorney fees in Cobell case rises (07/24)
Congress hacks Bush's accounting funds (7/16)
Swimmer partly right on trust fund rider (7/14)
Bush official balks at large settlement for Cobell (7/10)
On trust, lawmakers take Bush officials at face value (06/25)
Private attorneys reap benefits on Cobell case (06/24)
Norton offered settlement funds for IIM trust (6/20)
Lamberth criticizes interference with trust fund case (05/22)
Bush administration turns to Congress on trust (04/04)


Copyright � 2000-2003 Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Supreme Court sides with tribal interests in sovereign immunity case
Supreme Court sides with tribal interests in sovereign immunity case
In a rare win for Indian Country, the nation's highest court has sided with tribal interests in a closely-watched sovereign immunity case.

Muscogee Nation clashes with state in reservation boundary dispute
Muscogee Nation clashes with state in reservation boundary dispute
The Muscogee Nation and the state of Oklahoma are headed into a historic sovereignty clash thanks to the Supreme Court.

Doug George-Kanentiio: Energy company still hostile to indigenous interests
Doug George-Kanentiio: Energy company still hostile to indigenous interests
The Mohawk people can abide by our ancestral morals and reject a deal with the Enbridge energy company.

Mark Trahant: Native candidates in New Mexico react to polls and controversy
Mark Trahant: Native candidates in New Mexico react to polls and controversy
As voters head to the polls in New Mexico, Deb Haaland is in a tight three-way race while Gavin Clarkson is still stirring controversy.

Cronkite News: Republican version of Farm Bill defeated in House
Cronkite News: Republican version of Farm Bill defeated in House
Two Arizona lawmakers were among the 30 Republicans who crossed the aisle and joined all Democrats to send the $868 billion farm bill to defeat.

Mike Males: It's not schools that are dangerous for our children
Mike Males: It's not schools that are dangerous for our children
Schools are the sites of fewer than 3 percent of students’ gun homicides; the other 97 percent occur somewhere other than school.

Tribes seek a seat at table as states look into sports betting
With a landmark Supreme Court decision on the books, tribes from California to Connecticut want to be at the table when it comes to sports betting.

Native Sun News Today: Tribal leaders named to national environmental panel
Native Sun News Today: Tribal leaders named to national environmental panel
Chairman Mark Fox of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation has been thrust into the spotlight with a new role.

James Giago Davies: One of these days we are going to actually read the book
James Giago Davies: One of these days we are going to actually read the book
In every Wasicu church, and on every reservation, are holy men who can’t even tell you what caused the sky to be blue or thunder to crackle.

Hopi Tribe seeks support for long-overdue land transfer
Hopi Tribe seeks support for long-overdue land transfer
The Hopi Tribe is looking to federal government to fulfill a long-overdue promise that's connected to a seemingly endless land dispute.

Lac du Flambeau Band awaits results of autopsy in search for missing man
Lac du Flambeau Band awaits results of autopsy in search for missing man
Family and friends are offering tributes to Antonio Roché, a 24-year-old Lac du Flambeau man who went missing earlier this month.

Redding Rancheria pays tribute to late former chairwoman Barbara Murphy
Redding Rancheria pays tribute to late former chairwoman Barbara Murphy
Barbara Murphy, a former chairwoman of the Redding Rancheria, passed away on May 8. She was 79.

Agua Caliente Band donates $25,000 in gear to local fire department
Agua Caliente Band donates $25,000 in gear to local fire department
The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians is helping out a new crew of firefighters in southern California.

Tribes continue to weigh impact of Supreme Court ruling on sports betting
Tribes are welcoming the opportunity to engage in sports betting following a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision.

Tribes lose out in funding bill includes money for Trump reorganization
Tribes lose out in funding bill that includes money for Trump reorganization
A funding bill advancing on Capitol Hill is a win overall for Indian Country except for one big issue: a reorganization that tribes know little to nothing about.

Tribal items still going up for sale as lawmakers advance STOP Act
Tribal items still going up for sale as lawmakers advance STOP Act
A bipartisan bill aimed at stopping the trafficking of tribal items is taking a step forward on Capitol Hill amid ongoing concern over the sale of cultural property.

Native Sun News Today: Indigenous people 'criminalized, detained and sent to prisons'
Indigenous people often 'criminalized, detained and sent to prisons'
A top United Nations official is finding commonalities among indigenous struggles throughout the Americas.

YES! Magazine: Indigenous women reclaim traditions in pipeline fight
YES! Magazine: Indigenous women reclaim traditions in pipeline fight
With affordable and energy-efficient tiny houses, indigenous women are bringing back elements of Secwepemc culture.

Ivan Star Comes Out: Keeping Indian Country oppressed seems be the norm today
Ivan Star Comes Out: Keeping Indian Country oppressed seems be the norm today
We are blindly forging ahead when we should be learning our history from the inside out.

Museum in Germany returns items stolen from Native graves in Alaska
Museum in Germany returns items stolen from Native graves in Alaska
A museum in Germany is returning items that were stolen from Native graves in Alaska to their rightful place.

'Talks have broken down': Shinnecock Nation seeks role in golf tournament
'Talks have broken down': Shinnecock Nation seeks role in golf tournament
The Shinnecock Nation is working to reach an agreement with the hosts of the U.S. Open, a popular golf tournament that is taking place on stolen land.

Indian activist known for anti-mascot work pleads guilty to theft
Indian activist known for anti-mascot work pleads guilty to theft
Apache activist Robert Roche, who appeared in an iconic photo confronting a baseball fan, faces prison time for stealing federal funds.

Trump administration goes against tribal interests in treaty case
Trump administration goes against tribal interests in treaty case
After seven months, the Trump administration has finally provided its views in a closely-watched treaty rights case and it's not looking good for Indian Country.

'It was a travesty': Exhibit portrays Wounded Knee Massacre
'It was a travesty': Exhibit portrays Wounded Knee Massacre
An unprecedented audio-visual art exhibit about the Wounded Knee Massacre is traveling around South Dakota.

Mark Trahant: Paulette Jordan cruises to victory on primary night
Mark Trahant: Paulette Jordan cruises to victory on primary night
Paulette Jordan, a citizen of the Coeur d'Alene Tribe, won a convincing primary victory in her bid to be the next governor of Idaho.

Jeffrey Whalen: Oglala Sioux tribal leaders try to hold onto power
Jeffrey Whalen: Oglala Sioux tribal leaders try to hold onto power
Most, if not all, elected officials supported constitutional reform during the elections, but now only a handful are still hard at it and willing to keep their promises.

Security firm hired by Dakota Access still won't admit wrongdoing
Security firm hired by Dakota Access still won't admit wrongdoing
TigerSwan, hired by the wealthy backers of the Dakota Access Pipeline, is trying to clear its name in North Dakota.

Cherokee Nation sees success with 'trailblazing' program for hepatitis C
Cherokee Nation sees success with 'trailblazing' program for hepatitis C
The Cherokee Nation is reducing hepatitis C among its citizens, reporting a 90 percent cure rate for those testing positive.

'A blatant slap in the face': Tribes oppose land transfer bill in Nevada
'A blatant slap in the face': Tribes oppose land transfer bill in Nevada
The Yerington Paiute Tribe and the Walker River Paiute Tribe are slamming a land transfer bill that was drafted without their input.

Ramapough Lunaape Nation goes to court to protect prayer camp
Ramapough Lunaape Nation goes to court to protect prayer camp
Citing a 'historical pattern and practice of harassment,' the Ramapough Lunaape Nation is trying to protect a prayer camp on ancestral land.

Mashantucket and Mohegan interested in pursuing casinos in Japan
Two tribes are looking to the Land of the Rising Sun as they explore opportunities beyond their homelands in Connecticut.

Police officer's rifle went off inside Suquamish Tribe's casino
Authorities are looking into an incident in which a police officer's rifle was inadvertently discharged at the casino owned by the Suquamish Tribe.

Tribes continue to rely on key lawmakers for help with funding
Tribes continue to rely on key lawmakers for help with funding
With few people in their corner in the Trump administration, tribes are once again relying on Congress to fulfill the federal government's trust and treaty responsibilities.

Congress set to clear economic development bill for tribes in Oregon
Congress set to clear economic development bill for tribes in Oregon
President Donald Trump will soon be getting another Indian bill to sign thanks to bipartisan action on Capitol Hill.

Senate Committee on Indian Affairs moves quickly on pro-tribal farm bill
Senate Committee on Indian Affairs moves quickly on pro-tribal farm bill
The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs is working to ensure the Farm Bill doesn't leave tribal communities behind.

Bureau of Indian Education faces questions about safety and security
Are Bureau of Indian Education schools safe and secure? That's a question being posed on Capitol Hill.

Cronkite News: Native voters still face obstacles at the polls
Voting can still be a challenge for Native Americans, who may face language barriers, registration difficulties and a lack of access to polling places and government services.

Oneida Nation already lining up sports betting after Supreme Court ruling
Well that was fast. The Oneida Nation plans to offer sports betting in the 'near future' on its homelands in New York.

'We do not go away': Native community protests racism and aggression
Native people are continuing to call for justice following a series of incidents they say demonstrate racism and aggression in Nebraska.

Another Indian law case in limbo as high court turns to Trump again
The nation's highest court keeps asking the Trump administration for guidance despite a lack of leadership in key Indian policy positions.

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.