TITLE: Urging Housing and Urban Development and Department of Labor to Suspend Application of Recent Davis-Bacon Wage Determinations in Indian Country until Tribal Consultation Takes Place
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, 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, the Northwest Indian Housing Association (NWIHA) represents thirty-eight Indian Housing Authorities, Tribally Designated Housing Entities, and Tribal Housing Programs and Departments in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington, and Annette Island, Alaska; and
WHEREAS, the mission of NWIHA is to promote safe, sanitary, decent and affordable housing for Tribal members in the Pacific Northwest, which it accomplishes by providing training and education opportunities; providing a forum for the discussion and resolution of issues; advocating for the collective benefit of all members; effectively linking members to information and financial resources; and working collaboratively with its industry partners; and
WHEREAS, the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act of 1996 (NAHASDA) was enacted to further Tribal self-governance, and streamline and simplify the process of providing housing assistance to Tribes and Tribal members; and
WHEREAS, in 2014, the Department of Labor issued a series of new prevailing wage determinations across the United States, which determinations substantially increased the applicable prevailing wage rates for various construction positions, in some instances doubling or tripling the wage rate from the previous decision; and
WHEREAS, these determinations will have substantial, direct, and adverse impacts to the operations of Indian tribal housing programs across the country, increasing the costs of development of low-income housing in Indian Country; and
WHEREAS, because there will be no increase in appropriations to cover the additional costs resulting from the new Davis-Bacon wage determinations, application of these rates to Indian Country will result in an unfunded mandate; and
WHEREAS, under Executive Order 13175 (November 6, 2000), executive departments and agencies were charged with engaging in regular and meaningful consultation and collaboration with tribal officials in the development of Federal policies that have tribal implications, to strengthen the government-to-government relationship between the United States and Indian tribes and to avoid unfunded mandates on Indian tribes; and
WHEREAS, on November 5, 2009, President Obama signed a Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies on Tribal Consultation, in which the President emphasized his commitment to regular and meaningful consultation and collaboration with tribal officials in Federal policy decisions that have tribal implications, and which noted that fulfillment of this commitment includes, as an initial step, complete and consistent implementation of Executive Order 13175; and
WHEREAS, the Department of Labor determined and published these wage determinations without Tribal Consultation as required by Executive Order 13175; and
WHEREAS, further, these wage determinations contravene the “Tribal Government-to-Government Consultation Policy” described in the Notice published in the Federal Register on September 28, 2001, Docket No. FR-4580-N-01; and
WHEREAS, these Davis-Bacon determinations and the related increase in development costs will degrade and diminish affordability for low-income Native Americans and will make it more difficult for Indian tribes to secure financing for new construction.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that NCAI hereby urges the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Native American Programs and the Department of Labor to consult with tribes and clarify the state of Letter No. LR 2004-02; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NCAI hereby urges the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Native American Programs and the Department of Labor to immediately suspend the application of the 2014 Davis-Bacon wage determinations to Indian Country pending full Tribal consultation pursuant to Executive Order 13175; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NCAI does hereby request that the National American Indian Housing Council and NCAI analyze, review and determine the national impact of this wage decision on the ability of Tribes, Tribal Housing Authorities and Tribally-Designated Housing Entities across all of Indian country; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NCAI does hereby respectfully request the National American Indian Housing Council, and all other regional Native American associations and organizations join NCAI in supporting this Resolution; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that this resolution shall be the policy of NCAI until it is withdrawn or modified by subsequent resolution.
The foregoing resolution was adopted by the General Assembly at the 2014 Annual Session of the National Congress of American Indians, held at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta, October 26-31, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia, with a quorum present.