NCAI Praises Passage of HEARTH Act, Tribal Self-Determination in Land Leasing Bill Passes House and Senate Unanimously; President Obama to Sign Legislation

Published on Jul 18, 2012

 Washington, D.C. – On Tuesday July 17 the Senate passed by unanimous consent, H.R. 205, the Helping Expedite and Advance Responsible Tribal Homeownership (HEARTH) Act. The bill, considered critical to tribal self-determination related to leasing tribal lands and economic development, passed the House of Representatives in May, and is expected to be signed by the President in the near future.   A copy of the legislation is found here

The HEARTH Act authorizes surface leasing of tribal lands without needing to obtain direct approval from the Secretary of the Interior. Instead, tribal leases can be approved by the tribe under tribal leasing regulations. The new law will enable tribes to move much more quickly on leasing and economic development, while maintaining the Secretary’s trust responsibility to oversee trust lands.

“The HEARTH Act had strong bi-partisan support. It’s unanimous passage demonstrates that Congress can make progress on important legislation for Indian Country to help create jobs and improve the economy, ” said Jefferson Keel, President of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI). “This new law will speed housing and other development on tribal lands because we can do it ourselves under tribal government regulations.  NCAI is very appreciative of Representative Heinrich and Senator Barrasso for taking the lead introducing the HEARTH Act in the House and Senate.  We also appreciate the strong support from the Administration. Working together with the National American Indian Housing Council (NAIHC) and many tribal leaders, the bill passed with unanimous support in both the House and Senate, such incredible support and many sponsors on both sides of the aisle.”

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