Support Passage of Legislation that would Expand and Enhance the “477 Program”

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TITLE: Support Passage of Legislation that would Expand and Enhance the “477 Program”

WHEREAS, we, the members of the National Congress of American Indians of the United States, invoking the divine blessing of the Creator upon our efforts and purposes, in order to preserve for ourselves and our descendants the inherent sovereign rights of our Indian nations, rights secured under Indian treaties and agreements with the United States, and all other rights and benefits to which we are entitled under the laws and Constitution of the United States and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, to enlighten the public toward a better understanding of the Indian people, to preserve Indian cultural values, and otherwise promote the health, safety and welfare of the Indian people, do hereby establish and submit the following resolution; and

WHEREAS, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) was established in 1944 and is the oldest and largest national organization of American Indian and Alaska Native tribal governments; and

WHEREAS, P.L. 102-477, the Indian Employment, Training and Related Services Demonstration Act of 1992, has proven to be an exceptional success in making existing federal programming more effective in meeting the employment, training, education and welfare reform needs of Tribes and Tribal Organizations; and

WHEREAS, P.L. 102-477 substantially reduces the administrative cost and time to manage integrated programs, promotes efficiency, and expands ability to provide services; and

WHEREAS, P.L. 102-477 should increase the cooperation and coordination of federal agencies with regard to Tribes and Tribal Organizations; and

WHEREAS, P.L. 102-477 fully embodies the concepts of Tribal Self-Governance and Self-Determination found in the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act; and

WHEREAS, there are 64 adopted P.L. 102-477 Tribal plans, representing 264 Tribes and Tribal Organizations in 17 states, under these Plans, Tribes and Tribal Organizations are successfully administering, in a comprehensive and coordinated manner, their Tribal employment, training, education and welfare programs; and

WHEREAS, the P.L. 102-477 program received the highest Program Assessment Rating Tool (PART) rating of any program in Department of the Interior Indian Affairs by the Office of Management and Budget; and

WHEREAS, despite the record of Tribal success with P.L. 102-477, agencies within the Administration have refused to fully participate in the P.L. 102-477 Program and tried to impose significant burdens on Tribal programs; and

WHEREAS, Tribes and Tribal Organizations have been forced to withdraw their proposed 477 plans because of agency denials or significant delays in approval to the detriment of Tribal employment and training programs; and

WHEREAS, attempts by federal agencies to undermine the intent of P.L. 102-477 and the will of Congress damages Indian Self-Governance and Self-Determination, the 477 demonstration project and the concept of Tribal program integration; and

WHEREAS, the Indian Employment, Training and Related Services Consolidation Act of 2017 was introduced in the House (H.R. 228) and Senate (S. 91) in the 115th Congress. The two bills are identical and would ensure that the progress of this program continues; and

WHEREAS, in addition to making the 477 program a permanent program, this legislation would make many important changes, including expanding the kinds of programs that can be included in a 477 Plan, expanding the 477 initiative to include additional agencies, strengthening tribal rights to secure waivers, and establishing a strict process for Secretarial approval of 477 Plans; and

WHEREAS, the United States House of Representatives passed H.R. 228, which is now at the Senate desk waiting for final passage and the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs approved S.91.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) strongly supports the expeditious consideration by Congress of legislation to expand and enhance the “477” Program and will educate Members of Congress about the need for this legislation and urge their co-sponsorship; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NCAI urges tribal leaders to contact and write letters of support to Congress to urge expeditious enactment of such legislation; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that this resolution shall be the policy of NCAI until it is withdrawn or modified by subsequent resolution.