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Following a two week recess, Congress reconvened for business on April 9th. One major piece of Tribal legislation considered in the Senate included S.140, "A bill to amend the White Mountain Apache Tribe Water Rights Quantification Act of 2010 to clarify the use of amounts in the WMAT Settlement Fund". S. 140, which was passed by the House of Representatives on January 10th, included the Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act (TLSA) as an attached legislative item.
Read more at April 2018 Legislative Update
On March 23, 2018, President Trump signed into law an Omnibus Appropriations Bill for Fiscal Year 2018, funding the federal government through September 30, 2018 and averting another government shutdown. The $1.3 trillion bill was passed by the House and Senate on Thursday, March 22nd, and was reported to have support from the White House. However, in the morning hours of Friday, March 23rd, President Trump had announced he would veto the bill, which caused concern in Washington, DC since the federal budget was set to expire at midnight and Congress had recessed and would not return until the week of April 9th. President Trump threatened to veto the legislation due to inadequate funding for a Southern Border Wall with Mexico and the absence of protections for individuals in Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program. During the latter stages of Congress formulating the bill, President Trump had requested $25 billion for construction of the Southern Border Wall but Congress reduced that funding to $1.6 billion.
On February 9, 2018, Congress passed H.R. 1892, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, which was signed into law by President Trump and ended a five-hour shutdown of the Federal Government. The bill extended current FY 2018 funding until March 23, 2018 to provide Congress with time to pass a 2018 Omnibus Appropriations bill as well as suspending the debt limit until March 2019. While protections for nearly 800,000 immigrants affected by the rescission of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program were not included in the bill, several Indian tax extenders that expired in December 2016 were retroactively extended through 2017. Specifically, the bill included the retroactive extension of the Indian employment tax credit, the production credit for Indian coal facilities, and the accelerated depreciation for business property on an Indian reservation.
In addition to focusing on a 2018 Omnibus and preparation in formulating appropriations for FY 2019, Congress will also be addressing the upcoming 2018 Farm Bill Reauthorization and continuing discussions around a potential nationwide infrastructure funding bill.
February 2018 was a fast-paced month with a week spent in Washington D.C. participating in NCAI's Executive Winter Session and the ancillary associated meetings. We invite you to read on about our social embeddeness and policy work. If you would to go even deeper into policy, please contact us about receiving our monthly Legislative Newsletter.
We are already in February! It's hard to believe. During this past month, we've been a part of the AZ Indian Nations and Tribes Legislative Day, the Wiring the Rez Conference, and lectures here at ASU.
Thanks for taking the time to catch up with what's going on both in the nation and in the state with regard to Indian Country. We try to bring you the most relevant and timely information about happenings.