Senate Indian Affairs Committee passes bill to renew NAHASDA

A Cherokee Nation housing unit in Oklahoma. Photo from Housing Authority of the Cherokee Nation

The Senate Indian Affairs Committee approved S.710, a bill to reauthorize the Native American Housing Assistance and Self Determination Act, at a business meeting on Wednesday.

NAHASDA first became law in 1996 to give tribes greater control over federal housing funds. The law expired in September 2013 so Indian Country has been pushing hard for a renewal to ensure the success of critical programs.

"Today, the committee moved forward in passing important legislation that will help tribes address the housing needs of families in their communities," Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyoming), the chairman of the panel, said in a press release. "Every family needs a good, safe home in order to thrive and I believe this bill empowers more families in Indian country to have just that."

Approval clears the bill for consideration on the Senate floor. The House passed its version, H.R.360, last month.

"It is critical the full Senate act swiftly and reauthorize these important resources for families in Indian Country," Sen. Jon Tester (D-Montana), the vice chairman, of the committee said in a press release. "Every day Native American communities are impacted by the lack of available housing. I will continue to urge my colleagues to recognize the urgency and address the housing needs in Indian Country."

The Senate and House bills are not identical so any differences will have to be resolved before a final package can be approved by Congress.

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