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News Release

Office of U.S. Representative Norma Torres (D-CA-35)

U.S. Representatives Norma J. Torres (D-CA-35) and Deb Haaland (D-NM-01), Co-Chair of the Native American Caucus, yesterday passed legislation that expands economic opportunities for Native Americans out of the House of Representatives. The Indian Community Economic Enhancement Act, which previously passed in the U.S. Senate, will now return to the upper chamber for a final vote to normalize slight language differences between the two versions.

The Indian Community Economic Enhancement Act addressed the lack of access to credit and community development that hampers entrepreneurialism in Native American tribes. Specifically, the legislation:

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  • 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:

“The Indian Community Economic Enhancement Act will empower Native communities to chart their own course to economic prosperity,” Rep. Torres said. “Many tribes were moved to remote locations with limited opportunities to expand revenues or improve their quality of life. The legislation we passed today is a step in the right direction to help build a brighter future, and I thank Rep. Haaland and our partners in the Senate for their leadership in making it happen.”

“We all know that economic development is one of the keys to self-determination, but oftentimes the same system doesn’t work for Native communities. This bill will create more pathways to success and help jump start economic development in Tribal communities. I’m grateful for Rep. Norma Torres’ leadership and Senate’s work to pass this bill,” said Congresswoman Haaland, Co-chair of the Native American Caucus.