NCAI Action Alert: Ask Your Senators to Support Passage of the General Welfare Exclusion Act!

House Passes H.R. 3043, Tribal General Welfare Exclusion Act
Please Ask Senators to Support Senate Passage by Unanimous Consent This Week

Last night, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 3043, the Tribal General Welfare Exclusion Act, by voice vote. The bill was sponsored by Representatives Devin Nunes (R-CA) and Ron Kind (D-WA) and co-sponsored by a large number of Republican and Democratic members. NCAI appreciates the support of all the tribal leaders and our partner organizations who worked to pass this bill in the House. The bill assures that services provided by tribal governments to the members of their communities will not be taxed by the Internal Revenue Service, requires training for IRS employees, and establishes a Tribal Advisory Committee to the IRS.

Please contact your Senators and ask them to support Senate passage of H.R. 3043 this week. The Senate will go out of session at the end of this week for recess until after the election. We have been told that H.R. 3043 has been “held at the desk” in the Senate (not referred to committee) so that it can be passed by unanimous consent. However, any one Senator can hold the bill up, so please contact your Senators and ask for their support.

Congress Passes S. 1603, Gun Lake Trust Land Reaffirmation Act, Effectively Ends Patchak Litigation

Last night the House of Representatives passed S. 1603, the Gun Lake Trust Land Reaffirmation Act. The bill had already passed the Senate in July and is now headed to the White House where it is expected to be signed by the President. With passage of this legislation, the land taken into trust by the United States for the benefit of the Match-E-Be-Nash- She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians (Gun Lake Tribe) will be reaffirmed as trust land and the actions of the Secretary of the Interior in taking that land into trust will be ratified and confirmed.

This is very good news for the Gun Lake Tribe, but is also good news for all tribes because it will put an end to the Patchak v. Salazar litigation (now Patchack v. Jewell). This case went to the Supreme Court in 2012 and the Supreme Court struck down the Quiet Title Act as a defense to challenges to the trust status of tribal land. The case was sent back to federal district court where the trust land acquisition for Gun Lake was facing a “Carcieri” challenge as to whether the tribe was “under federal jurisdiction ” in 1934. This Act of Congress should put an end to this legal challenge and may set a precedent for further action by Congress.

NCAI Contact: John Dossett, General Counsel – jdossett@ncai.org

Founded in 1944, the National Congress of American Indians is the oldest, largest and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization in the country. NCAI advocates on behalf of tribal governments, promoting strong tribal-federal government-to-government policies, and promoting a better understanding among the general public regarding American Indian and Alaska Native governments, people and rights.

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