Rep. Sharice Davids (D-Kansas), a citizen of the Ho-Chunk Nation who made history with Haaland as the first two Native women to win election to Congress, plans to vote for impeachment too. She said the "evidence uncovered by the House impeachment inquiry is overwhelming. And the facts are uncontested." "President Trump used the office of the Presidency to solicit foreign interference in our elections for his own personal, political benefit," Davids said in a December 10 statement that highlighted other "bipartisan" efforts on Capitol Hill. "He pressured Ukraine’s President to investigate his political rival, while withholding millions in taxpayer-funded aide to Ukraine. And since this information came to light, President Trump has defied congressional subpoenas, withholding critical documents and testimony. " On the other side of the aisle are the Native Republican lawmakers. Rep. Tom Cole (R-Oklahoma), who is the highest-ranking GOP member on the House committee that will determine how the impeachment resolution moves forward, said his Democratic colleagues were wrong about their chamber's investigation into Trump's dealings with Ukraine.
Thanks to everyone who joined our Call With Your Congresswoman last night and shared their questions about health care. I’ll keep working to lower costs and protect people with pre-existing conditions.— Rep. Sharice Davids (@RepDavids) December 11, 2019
P.S. - The candy of choice this call? Chocolate. pic.twitter.com/6y5oJgCjA0
Of the three on the schedule, two already passed the Senate, which is in Republican hands, so they are almost over the finish line. S.216, the Spokane Tribe of Indians of the Spokane Reservation Equitable Compensation Act, is one of them. The bill compensates the Spokane Tribe for the loss of its lands to the Grand Coulee Dam in Washington state. The measure enjoys strong bipartisan support. “For over 60 years, the Spokane Tribe has worked to get just and equitable compensation for the use of thousands of acres of tribal lands,” said Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Washington), the sponsor of S.216, which passed her chamber on June 27, the same day as the Native languages bill. She noted that she has been working on the effort for 18 years, reaching back to her arrival in Washington, D.C., in 2001. “The Grand Coulee Dam brought great benefits to our region in the form of clean, renewable, and affordable energy," said Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Washington), who up until this year was one of the highest-ranking Republicans in the House of Representatives. "Unfortunately, as a result, Eastern Washington tribes lost land, burial sites, access to rivers, and historic trading routes." "In return, the Spokane tribe was offered an extremely low level of compensation for these losses," added McMorris Rodgers. "This legislation will ensure that we right this historical wrong and that the tribe receives equitable compensation for the negative impact on their land and culture. This is long overdue." Another bill that's about to clear its final hurdle on Capitol Hill also comes from the Pacific Northwest and it too is supported by Democrats and Republicans. S.50, the Columbia River In-Lieu and Treaty Fishing Access Sites Improvement Act, fulfills a promise made in tribal treaties to maintain fishing sites and villages along the Columbia River in Washington and Oregon. "These sites, which are federally controlled, were set aside by Congress to provide fishing access to tribal fishermen whose traditional fishing grounds were displaced after the construction of dams on the Columbia River," said Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Washington), one of whose Indian Country bills became law during the last session of Congress. "Because these sites are federally maintained, the bill's authorization is necessary to assess the sanitation and safety in order to improve these sites tribal use." The third bill up for passage in the House on Monday is H.R.453, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Historic Lands Reacquisition Act. The bipartisan bill enables the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians to reclaim just a small portion of its ancestral territory -- about 76 acres in Tennessee. A prior version of the measure cleared the House during the last session of Congress by a near unanimous vote but did not move forward in the Senate even though both chambers were controlled by Republicans at the time. The sponsor of H.R.453 is Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-Tennessee). "This should be something that Members on both sides of the aisle, Republicans and Democrats, embrace as a matter of civil liberties, as a matter of doing the right thing, as a matter of keeping our broken promises made for a change," Fleischmann said during debate on his measure in April 2018. With passage of S.216 and S.50 in the House, the total number of stand-alone Indian Country bills cleared by the 116th Congress rises to three. Though the tally is low, lawmakers have another year to advance more pro-tribal legislation before the session ends in December 2020. Despite the progress seen these past couple of weeks, Indian Country's legislative agenda has taken a hit during the Donald Trump era. Only about a dozen tribal bills were signed into law by the president during the 115th Congress in 2017 and 2018, when Republicans controlled both the House and the Senate. Historically, about 20 tribal bills have been signed into law during any particular session of Congress, regardless of which parties are running the show in Washington. Assuming the Donald Trump impeachment resolution moves forward this week, attention turns to the Senate, where a trial is expected to be held in early January 2020. With Republicans in firm control of the chamber, the party has enough votes to keep the president in office.
NEXT: The US House of Representatives is scheduled to approve 3 tribal bills on Monday:— indianz.com (@indianz) December 14, 2019
*S.216-Spokane Tribe Equitable Compensation Act
*S.50–Columbia River In-Lieu & Treaty Fishing Access Sites Improvement Act
*H.R.453–Eastern Band of Cherokee Historic Lands Reacquisition Act