Office of U.S. Representative Norma J. Torres
U.S. Representatives Norma J. Torres (CA-35) and Deb Haaland (NM-01), Co-Chair of the Native American Caucus, celebrated last week as their bill, the Indian Community Economic Enhancement Act, was signed into law.
The new law expands economic opportunities for Native Americans by addressing the lack of access to credit and community development that hampers entrepreneurialism in Native American tribes. Specifically, the legislation:
- Updates and provides new resources to the Department of Commerce’s Office of Native American Business Development;
- Ensures effective implementation of the Buy Indian Act within the Departments of Interior and Health and Human Services;
- Reauthorizes the Social and Economic Development Strategies (SEDS) grant program administered by the Administration for Native Americans; and
- Authorizes the Administration for Native Americans (ANA) to provide financial assistance to Native American community development financial institutions.
The lawmakers released the following statements:
“Native communities are one step closer to economic independence and self-charted prosperity today now that the Indian Community Economic Enhancement Act is law of the land,” Representative Torres said. “For tribal members whose financial opportunities have historically been limited by the geographic and economic isolation, this new law will allow capital to flow and new businesses to take root. I am grateful for Rep. Haaland’s leadership as we ushered this bill through the legislative process, and thank our partners in the Senate for working with us to make this day a reality.”
“All communities deserve access to the tools to grow businesses and build economic opportunities, but years of oppression have left Native American entrepreneurs behind,” Representative Deb Haaland, Co-Chair of the Congressional Native American Caucus, said. “As a small business owner while raising my daughter there were times when easier access to capital would have benefited my business. I’m proud of the work Rep. Torres and I did to expand opportunities for Native entrepreneurs and get this bill across the finish line.”