Editorial: Native Hawaiian bill divides Americans

"Today, the House will take up the question whether the federal government should recognize ethnic Hawaiians as a new Indian tribe. The Bush administration has promised to veto the bill if it passes, arguing that — in the words of a policy statement — it would “discriminate on the basis of race or national origin and further subdivide the American people into discrete subgroups accorded varying degrees of privilege.” The president deserves to be commended for this position.

The Akaka Bill may pass both houses of this Democratic Congress. Conservative congressional staffers, determined to fight it, have wondered whether they could count on the White House’s support. In 2005, the Bush administration suggested a few changes to the bill rather than opposing it outright. Last year, the bill received 56 Senate votes for cloture. It would have been 59 if all senators had been present, putting it just one vote short of the required 60. There is little doubt that it will pass that threshold this year.

The administration’s opposition this time around, then, is most welcome. Among other things, it denies cover to a handful of Republicans in the House and Senate who are cosponsoring the bill. They include not only Alaska’s congressional delegation, but Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma and Sens. Norm Coleman of Minnesota and Gordon Smith of Oregon.

Unfortunately, the attempt to divide Americans by race will not end if President Bush vetoes the Akaka Bill. Hillary Clinton voted for it in 2006 — and she may sign it into law yet, if Americans make her their president."

Get the Story:
Editorial: The Hawaiian Race (National Review Online 10/24)

Statement of Administration Policy:
H.R. 505 – Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2007 (October 22, 2007)

Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act::
H.R.505 | S.310

Relevant Links:
Office of Hawaiian Affairs - http://www.oha.org
Native Hawaiian Recognition - http://www.nativehawaiians.com

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