NCAI Urges Senate Leadership to Reauthorize CHIP and SDPI
On December 11th, 2017, NCAI sent the attached letters to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) urging them to promptly reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and the Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI).
Both programs were reauthorized until September 30th, 2017 by the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA, Public Law 114-10). While CHIP is currently expired, SDPI was extended until December 31st, 2017 through the Disaster Tax Relief and Airport and Airway Extension Act. CHIP and SDPI have had positive impacts in Indian Country and failure to reauthorize these programs jeopardizes the great strides that have been made in ensuring American Indian and Alaska Native children are insured and decreasing the rate of diabetes and diabetes-related complications in Indian Country.
NCAI Contact Info: Josh Pitre, Senior Policy Analyst, firstname.lastname@example.org
Read the CHIP Letter>
Read the SDPI Letter:
NCAI Tax Reform Update
December 8, 2017
Tax Reform Update
On December 2, the Senate passed its tax reform bill, which means the House and Senate must now resolve the differences between their bills. The Senate bill does not include any tribal provisions while the House bill has one tribal provision that would treat the loan repayment benefits offered by the Indian Health Service the same as loan repayment benefits offered by other public sector health services providers for purposes of income taxes.
Last week, both the House and Senate voted to go to conference and named their conferees. Once the conferees negotiate the final package, each chamber will hold a vote. We expect the House vote to occur early next week, and the Senate vote to occur after the House vote and before the end of the week.
On December 6, NCAI and NAFOA sent a joint letter to the conferees expressing the need to include tribes. Additionally, because changes made during conference must be related to the bills being conferenced, NCAI prepared a memorandum analyzing how tribal tax priorities are related to provisions currently being considered in the House and Senate bills.
Tribes, NCAI, and other organizations continue to urge Congress to include Indian Country in the final tax reform package.
A chart of House and Senate conferees is available: here
The NCAI-NAFOA letter is available: here
The NCAI memorandum is available: here
NCAI Contact Info: Jacob Schellinger, Staff Attorney & Legislative Counsel, email@example.com
Piqua Shawnee, along with the National Congress of American Indians, asks you to show your support for the
On November 8 at 2:30 (EDT), the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs will hold a legislative hearing to receive testimony on the Safeguard Tribal Objects of Patrimony (STOP) Act of 2017 (S. 1400). This legislation has broad support from Indian Country and NCAI is asking Tribes to submit their support for this legislation and become part of the hearing record.
The STOP Act would strengthen existing federal statutes protecting Native American cultural heritage with an emphasis on facilitating the return of protected items exported and trafficked abroad. Specifically, the STOP Act increases penalties for violations of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) and provides an explicit prohibition on exporting items obtained in violation of NAGPRA, the Archaeological Resources Protection Act (ARPA), or the Antiquities Act. The legislation does not extend the reach of these three laws to tribal cultural heritage that is not already protected, and thus it does not criminalize any currently legal domestic activity. Instead, it increases the deterrent effect of current law by imposing heightened penalties and provides that traffickers may not export their contraband. Additionally, the STOP Act creates a structure for federal facilitation of the voluntary return of tribal cultural heritage and engages tribes through a working group to provide input on implementation.
NCAI has two resolutions which align with the intent of the STOP Act and call upon the United States government to address international repatriation and take affirmative actions to stop the theft and illegal sale of tribal cultural items both domestically and abroad (SAC-12-008 and SD-15-075). You can find NCAI’s letter of support here.
The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs is holding a legislative hearing on the STOP Act on Wednesday, November 8, 2017. There is strong bi-partisan support in Congress for the STOP Act but opposition from some antiquities dealers and collectors, who are mobilizing on the Hill, threatens the bill’s progress. This hearing is a critical opportunity for Indian Country to provide their positions on the record about the importance of protecting tribal cultural heritage.
We are asking tribes and tribal organizations to support the STOP Act before this important hearing. You can show support by:
- Sending a letter to Committee members expressing support for the bill, with your senators copied. You can find a template letter of support here. Testimony can be sent here. To ensure NCAI can track tribal support, please CC firstname.lastname@example.org when you submit); and
- Calling or meeting with Committee staff and your senator, especially if he or she is a member of the Committee, expressing your support for the bill.
Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Members