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House takes testimony on trust fund settlement

The House Resources Committee on Wednesday held a hearing on possible settlement of the Cobell Indian trust fund lawsuit.

Chairman Richard Pombo (R-Calif.) and other members asserted jurisdiction over the issue, saying they will fight proposals by the House Appropriations Committee. Pombo and others are opposing a provision in the Department of Interior's 2004 budget bill to creates a settlement program that allows the government to unilaterally settle trust fund accounts.

The committee heard from Associate Deputy Secretary Jim Cason, who outlined several "options" for moving forward. However, he said the Bush administration wasn't willing to settle for billions.

A slate of Indian and tribal leaders said they supported settlement but differed on how to get there. Lead plaintiff Elouise Cobell and National Congress of American Indians President Tex Hall said Congress should let the court decide. John Berrey, chairman of the Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma, said U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth has gone "insane" by expanding the scope of the suit.

Other Indian representatives said the case has taken priority over other issues. But they all opposed the appropriations rider, which will probably be debated on the House floor next week.

Get the Story:
Congress asked to act in Indian trust case (The Billings Gazette 7/10)
Plan to settle Indian trust fund case criticized (The Daily Oklahoman 7/10)
Username: indianz@indianz.com, Password: indianz
House Panel Opposes Indian Money Proposal (AP 7/10)
Official Says Class Action on Indian Fund Is a Top Issue (The New York Times 7/10)
Username: indianzcom, Password: indianzcom

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:
Judge Lamberth hears closing arguments in Cobell trial (7/9)
Closing arguments set in Cobell trust fund trial (7/8)
Dicks pins anti-Cobell language on Taylor (7/7)
Editorial: Trust fund settlement bill 'disgraceful' (7/7)
Swimmer to appear on Native America Calling (7/7)
Swimmer finally off the stand in Cobell trial (7/3)
Swimmer testimony in Cobell trial wrapping up (7/2)
Swimmer recalls 'fuzzy' Reagan years (7/1)
Lamberth questions Norton's trust limits (7/1)
Pombo targets trust fund settlement program (6/30)
Swimmer testifies on trust fund accounting (6/27)
Swimmer challenged on Bush reform plans (6/27)
Swimmer expected to take stand in Cobell trial (6/25)
Griles gets Cobell wish list from House (6/26)
Taxpayers fund private attorneys to tune of $3M (6/25)
Norton offered settlement funds for IIM trust (6/20)
Swimmer testimony to come at end of Cobell trial (06/05)
Cason to take stand in Indian trust fund trial (6/4)
Indian trust standards debated (6/3)
Suit aims to halt reorganization (6/3)
Norton starts defense in trust fund trial (6/2)
Tribes stress unity on trust reform solutions (6/2)
Cobell welcomes a settlement to trust case (5/29)
Lamberth criticizes interference with trust fund case (05/22)
Tribes oppose OST expansion into Indian County (5/22)
Swimmer: Don't fear changes at Interior (5/22)
On trust, Swimmer turns to private sector (5/14)
Trial in Cobell trust fund case kicks off (05/02)
Bush reform plans debated in trust fund trial (05/02)
Cobell v. Norton Recap: Day 1 of Trial 1.5 (05/02)
Court tackles trust accounting and reform plans (05/01)

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