The Hobbs, Straus, Dean & Walker law and lobbying firm, which has been working for Indian Country clients for decades, previously said Lee was holding up NAHASDA “based on the Senator’s belief that the Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant is unconstitutional.” But Lee isn’t alone, as Republicans in the House also have been trying to remove Native Hawaiians from NAHASDA. In 2014, for example, a group of Democratic lawmakers objected to a GOP-led version of the bill that left out indigenous people in the 50th state. During NCAI’s winter meeting, which took place virtually due to COVID-19, Young noted that the House, in the past, has passed bills to reauthorize NAHASDA. He traces the delay to the U.S. Senate, which was under GOP control during the 114th, 115th and 116th sessions of Congress — or for six years of the debacle. “That’s been held up in the Senate,” Young, who is the longest serving member in his chamber, said of NAHASDA. “We’re working to try to get it done again. It’s the right thing to do. It works well.”
Senate Republicans who have been obstructing NAHASDA include Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, who once bragged to a group of Indian people that he took a DNA test & it showed he had a "Native" ancestor.— indianz.com (@indianz) January 8, 2021
Then there is Donald Trump, who falsely said Indian housing is "race" based program.
In a new era in D.C., where Democrats control the legislative and executive bipartisan group in the Senate is hoping to end the impasse. Their version of NAHASDA maintains the Native Hawaiian program that has been at the center of controversy for nearly a decade. “Since it was first signed into law in 1996, NAHASDA has provided billions in federal dollars to tribes and Native communities in Hawai‘i and across the country,” said Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), the chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. “Our bill continues this bipartisan tradition and extends NAHASDA for another decade, giving Native communities the resources they need to help more Native families find safe, affordable housing.” “The United States must live up to its trust and treaty responsibilities to tribal communities when it comes to housing,” said Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), the vice chair of the committee. “Our NAHASDA legislation reauthorizes and enacts much needed reforms to streamline housing and related infrastructure projects in Native communities.” “As our country moves forward from the COVID-19 pandemic, we must ensure that Native communities, including tribes in Alaska, are part of the recovery and passage of this bipartisan legislation will ensure that.” Murkowski added. After introducing the bill last summer, Schatz and Murkowski, who provided pre-recorded video updates to NCAI on Monday, are taking action to further their work on NAHASDA. Their committee is due to advance S.2264 at a business meeting on Wednesday afternoon. William J. Ailā Jr., the chair of the Hawaiian Homes Commission, thanked the lawmakers for keeping the Native Hawaiian program in their bill. He also said American Indians and Alaska Natives rallied to the cause. “I would like to acknowledge Senator Schatz, Hawaii’s congressional delegation, and Senator Murkowski for their diligent efforts to bring this legislation forward and we send aloha to our American Indian and Alaska Native cousins for their continued support of Title VIII,” Aila said in reference to the section of NAHASDA that includes Native Hawaiians. “The proposed improvements to the program will provide much needed stability and assist DHHL with the creation of more housing units and additional housing services,” Aila said of the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, the state agency where the housing agency is based.
I want to thank my good friend @RepGwenMoore for joining me for a Congressional Fireside Chat on Tribal lands and economies w/ @NCAI1944. I’m a steadfast advocate for Tribal sovereignty and will always stand up for Indigenous Peoples’ right to self-determination! pic.twitter.com/2R3Bqm2CAN— Rep. Don Young (@repdonyoung) February 14, 2022
As for the executive branch, the Biden administration is supporting efforts to reauthorize NAHASDA. Secretary Marcia Fudge, who leads the Department of Housing and Urban Development, has been stressing the importance of Indian housing programs since coming on board over a year ago. “Through #NAHASDA, Tribal communities have received the resources necessary to develop affordable housing and invest in infrastructure that meets each community’s unique needs,” Fudge said in a post on social media last October on the 25th anniversary of NAHASDA. The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs business meeting to consider S.2264, the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Reauthorization Act, is scheduled to start at 2:30pm Eastern on Wednesday. The meeting will be immediately followed by a legislative hearing on four Indian Country bills. Note: Thumbnail photo of new home for 90-year-old Cherokee Nation veteran Selbert Taylor by Anadisgoi / Cherokee Nation
Today, we recognize the 25th anniversary of the passage of the Native American Housing and Self-Determination Act (#NAHASDA), a landmark bill that restructured how the federal government works with Tribes to address the housing and infrastructure needs in Indian Country. 1/ pic.twitter.com/M6aVdoHNMt— Secretary Marcia L. Fudge (@SecFudge) October 26, 2021
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