June 21, 1995 - Issue: Vol. 141, No. 102 — Daily Edition104th Congress (1995 - 1996) - 1st Session
STATEMENTS ON INTRODUCED BILLS AND JOINT RESOLUTIONS; Congressional Record Vol. 141, No. 102
(Senate - June 21, 1995)
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[Pages S8821-S8824] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] STATEMENTS ON INTRODUCED BILLS AND JOINT RESOLUTIONS By Mrs. HUTCHISON: S. 951. A bill to commemorate the service of First Ladies Jacqueline Kennedy and Patricia Nixon to improving and maintaining the Executive Residence of the President and to authorize grants to the White House Endowment Fund in their memory to continue their work; to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. the white house endowment fund memorial grant authorization act
Mrs. HUTCHISON. Mr. President, throughout our history as a nation the White House has served as a public [[Page S 8822]] symbol of the President and the Federal Government. During countless wars and national crises, we have looked to the White House for leadership. The growth of our country, and the growth of its importance in the world, has caused the number of visitors and the demands on the Executive Residence of the President--the White House--to grow substantially. Over 1.5 million people visit the White House annually; it's the only Executive Residence in the world that is regularly open to the general public. Eventually the burden of constant use and the neglect of our historical treasures left the White House in disrepair. Until recently the White House was not maintained as a public building suitable for exhibiting our heritage and culture to the public. In 1961, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy initiated the White House Historic Preservation Program. The program's goals were to restore the historic integrity of the public rooms of the White House; to establish a fine and decorative arts collection; and to establish the White House Historical Association to publish and distribute educational materials describing the White House and its history. Later that decade First Lady Pat Nixon provided new leadership by overseeing the most extensive acquisition of fine and decorative arts in the history of the White House. Her plan for refurbishment of the public rooms remains intact after more than 20 years. The fine and decorative arts donated to the White House during the leadership of Mrs. Kennedy and Mrs. Nixon, valued today at tens of millions of dollars, far exceed those received during all other modern Presidential administrations combined. With over 1.5 million visitors annually, the Executive Residence's public rooms need constant care and complete refurbishing every 8 to 10 years. To maintain the collection of fine arts, historic pieces must be acquired, loaned works must be acquired, reproductions need to be replaced, and repairs need to be made. First Lady Barbara Bush established the White House Endowment Fund in 1990 to create a permanent endowment of $25,000,000 to maintain the public rooms and collection of the White House. Although substantial contributions have been received from the public, additional funds are needed to complete the endowment. Over the past 2 years we have lost Jacqueline Kennedy and Patricia Nixon, who were among the finest First Ladies that have served our country. In recognition of their service in preserving and improving the White House, and in their memory following their recent deaths, today I am introducing legislation to authorize a memorial grant to the White House Endowment Fund to continue preservation activities at the White House. First Ladies Jacqueline Kennedy and Patricia Nixon devoted much of their service to preserving and improving the White House. They made it a national showplace of American history, fine arts, and decorative arts. Bestowing this honor on Mrs. Kennedy and Mrs. Nixon would be in accord with the well-established congressional precedent by which a grateful nation recognizes noteworthy and enduring contributions to the public interest with memorial gifts. I hope all Senators will join me in recognizing their work and in preserving it for the future by supporting this bill. ______ By Mr. LIEBERMAN: S. 952. A bill to prohibit the taking of certain lands by the United States in trust for economically self-sufficient Indian tribes for commercial and gaming purposes, and for other purposes; to the Committee on Indian Affairs. the indian trust lands reform act of 1995 Mr. LIEBERMAN. Mr. President, I am introducing legislation today to return some common sense to one aspect of the Federal Government's policies regarding Indian lands. My bill, the Indian Trust Lands Reform Act of 1995, arises out of a problem we have been struggling with in Connecticut for the last couple years, but which, given the explosive growth in Indian gaming, other States will soon likely face as well. The bill would amend the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 to reinforce its original purpose--helping Indian tribes and individual Indians hold on to or obtain land they need to survive economically and ultimately support themselves. Congress passed the 1934 act after the landholdings of some tribes had dwindled down to acres. Tribes and their members were selling and losing land to foreclosures, tax arrearages, and the like. The 1934 act gave the Secretary of the Interior the authority needed to help tribes hold on to or acquire land on which they could earn a living and, further, to hold those lands in trust for them so they would not be sold or otherwise lost. Once land is taken in trust by the United States for a tribe through this process, it becomes part of the tribe's sovereign lands and is no longer within the jurisdiction of State or local governments or subject to taxation or zoning controls. The 1934 act specifically provides the Secretary of the Interior with the authority, ``in his discretion, to acquire, through purchase, relinquishment, gift, exchange, or assignment, any interest in lands * * * for the purpose of providing land for Indians.'' The legislative history of the 1934 act and that specific provision makes clear that Congress' purpose was ``to provide for the acquisition, through purchase, of land for Indians, now landless, who are anxious to make a living on such land. * * *'' and ``to meet the needs of landless Indians and of Indian individuals whose landholdings are insufficient for self-support.'' Senate Report No. 1080, 73d Congress, 2d Session 1- 2 (1934). Economic conditions for most tribes have improved since 1934 through a variety of commercial, agricultural, and other enterprises, but many are still struggling. Few could be described as rich or even comfortable; far too many still live in poverty. The 1934 act should be available to help those tribes who still need assistance from the Federal Government in attaining economic self-sufficiency. Since the passage of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act in 1988, of course, many tribes have established casinos and gambling operations. Some have been very successful, others less so. One of the most successful gambling casinos in the country is located in eastern Connecticut and is owned and operated by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe. The success of the tribe's Foxwoods Casino has been well-chronicled. Established in 1992, the casino has been open 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a- week every since. Whatever one thinks about the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act or gambling, either morally or as a vehicle for economic growth, the Mashantucket Pequots seized the opportunity presented to them by the Indian Gaming Act. They have developed an extraordinarily successful, well-run casino in record time. In 1994, annual casino revenues for the 300-member tribe were said to exceed $800 million. By any measure, the tribe has become very wealthy. Given the tribe's financial success, it is not at all surprising that it has chosen to use some of those gambling revenues to buy more land near its reservation in order to expand upon its success. According to press accounts, the tribe owns over 3,500 acres outside of the boundaries of the reservation, in addition to the 1,229 acres that is held in trust on its behalf within the reservation, and is now the largest private landowner in southeastern Connecticut. Tribal leaders have at various times talked of building a massive theme park, golf courses, and hotels on the land it owns outside the reservation. The tribe owns that land in fee simple, like any other property owner and so is free to develop it like any other property owner might. Nevertheless, the tribe has chosen to apply to the Department of the Interior under the 1934 act to have some of that land taken in trust on their behalf. The 1934 act is on the books and available, with limitations, to all federally recognized tribes. The benefits are enormous--tax-free land that is not subject to any State or local zoning or land-use laws. Their efforts have paid off. In 1992, 27 acres in the neighboring towns of Ledyard and Preston were taken into trust by the Department of Interior for the tribe at its request. In January 1993, the tribe filed an application to have an additional 248 taken in trust. The legal and policy justifications for that request, as well as the earlier 1992 [[Page S 8823]] trust acquisition, were immediately challenged by the affected towns of Ledyard, North Stonington, and Preston. Nevertheless, that request was granted this May by the Department of Interior, subject to certain conditions regarding the land's development and pending resolution of lawsuits filed by the towns and the Connecticut attorney general. In March 1993, the tribe applied to have 1,200 more acres taken in trust. That request was denied because of legal deficiencies in the application. Reapplication by the tribe is possible. Past statements by tribal leaders suggest that more applications may be filed. The effect of these decisions--by the tribe and the Department of the Interior--has been unsettling, to say the least, on the tribe's neighbors--the residents of the small towns that border the reservation. Once the United States takes land into trust on behalf of a tribe, as it has done here, boundaries change permanently. That land is no longer within the jurisdiction of the State or local governments. It is not subject to local zoning, land-use or environmental controls. Taxes cannot be collected on the land or on any business operated on the land. And State and local governments may exercise no police powers on the land unless invited by the tribe to do so. Given the vast financial resources of the tribe and the apparent willingness of the Department of Interior to take land into trust on their behalf regardless of any evidence that the tribe needs additional trust lands, many residents in the tribes wonder, as do I, where this will all end. I simply do not see any policy justification for the United States to change the boundaries of three Connecticut towns unilaterally so that an extraordinarily wealthy tribe--this one or any other--can expand its gaming or other business enterprises, free of taxes and local land-use controls, particularly when that tribe is perfectly capable of expanding its businesses on the thousands of trust and nontrust land it presently owns. It strains credulity to think that Congress intended in 1934 that the law would be used in this fashion. The authority for the Department of Interior to grant the tribe's request is now subject to review in the courts. The courts will have to decide whether the 1934 act even applies to this tribe and, if so, whether the Secretary acted properly. The courts will have to decide as well whether the 1983 Mashantucket Pequot Settlement Act independently prohibits trust acquisition by the tribe outside of reservation boundaries. To avoid future disputes and controversy, my bill would amend the Indian Reorganization Act to return to its original purpose. It would prohibit the Secretary of Interior from taking any lands located outside of the boundaries of an Indian reservation in trust on behalf of an economically self-sufficient Indian tribe, if those lands are to be used for gaming or any other commercial purpose. It directs the Secretary of Interior to determine, after providing opportunity for public comment, whether a tribe is economically self-sufficient and to develop regulations setting forth the criteria for making that determination generally. Among the criteria that the Secretary must include in those regulations to assess economic self-sufficiency are the income of the tribe, as allocated among members and compared to the per capita income of citizens of the United States, as well as the role that the lands at issue will play in the tribe's efforts to achieve economic self-sufficiency. My bill does not affect the ability of the Secretary to assist tribes that genuinely need additional land in order to move toward or attain economic self-sufficiency. Moreover, the bill contains explicit exemptions for the establishment of initial reservations for Indian tribes, whether accomplished through recognition by the Department of Interior or by an act of Congress, and in circumstances where tribes once recognized by the Federal Government are restored to recognition. Mr. President, many residents of Connecticut applaud the success that the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe has had with its Foxwoods Casino. The tribe employs thousands of Connecticut residents in an area of the State that was hard-hit by a lingering recession and cuts in defense spending. The tribe's plans for economic development of the region, while not universally liked, have many in the area genuinely excited about future opportunities. I have discovered though that even among residents cheered by the tribe's success and supportive of its plans, there is a strong sense of unfairness about how the ``land in trust'' process is being used. They believe there is absolutely no reason why this tribe, or any other in a similar situation, needs to have the U.S. Government take additional, essentially commercial land in trust on the tribe's behalf outside of its reservation boundaries. What is at stake here, afterall, is not preserving a culture or achieving self-sufficiency, but expansion of an already successful business on lands which are owned by the tribe and developable by them, as they would be by any other landowner. Extra help is simply not needed, and continuing to grant it is unjust and, in my view, ultimately counterproductive for all involved. It is time for Congress to make this common sense clarification in the law. I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting this legislation, and ask unanimous consent that the text of the bill appear in the Record. There being no objection, the bill was ordered to be printed in the Record, as follows: S. 952 Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE. This Act may be cited as the ``Indian Trust Lands Reform Act of 1995''. SEC. 2. PROHIBITION AGAINST TAKING CERTAIN LANDS IN TRUST FOR AN INDIAN TRIBE. Section 5 of the Act of June 18, 1934 (commonly known as the ``Indian Reorganization Act of 1934'') (48 Stat 935; 25 U.S.C. 465) is amended-- (1) in the first undesignated paragraph, by striking ``The Secretary of the Interior'' and inserting ``Except as provided in the following paragraph, the Secretary of the Interior''; and (2) by inserting after the first undesignated paragraph the following new undesignated paragraphs: ``Except with respect to lands described in the following paragraph, the Secretary of the Interior may not take, in the name of the United States in trust for use for any commercial purpose (including gaming, as that term is used in the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (25 U.S.C. 2701 et seq.)) by an economically self-sufficient Indian tribe, any land that is located outside of the reservation of that Indian tribe as of the date of enactment of the Indian Trust Lands Reform Act of 1995. The Secretary of the Interior shall, after providing notice and an opportunity for public comment, determine whether an Indian tribe is economically self-sufficient for purposes of this paragraph. The Secretary of the Interior shall promulgate regulations pursuant to section 553 of title 5, United States Code, to prescribe the criteria that shall be used to determine the economic self-sufficiency of an Indian tribe under this paragraph. The criteria described in the preceding sentence shall include a comparison of the per capita allocation of the gross annual income of an Indian tribe (including the income of all tribal enterprises of the tribe) among members of the tribe with the per capita annual income of citizens of the United States, and shall include the potential contribution of the lands at issue as trust lands toward efforts of the tribe to achieve economic self- sufficiency. ``The immediately preceding paragraph shall not apply with respect to any lands that are taken by the Secretary of the Interior in the name of the United States in trust for the establishment of an initial reservation for an Indian tribe under applicable Federal law, including the establishment of an initial reservation by the Secretary of the Interior in accordance with an applicable procedure of acknowledgement of that Indian tribe, or as otherwise prescribed by an Act of Congress. Neither shall the immediately preceding paragraph apply to any lands restored to an Indian tribe as the result of the restoration of recognition of that Indian tribe by the Federal Government.''. By Mr. CHAFEE (for himself, Ms. Moseley-Braun, Mr. Simon, Mr. Campbell, Mr. Thompson, and Mr. Pell): S. 953. A bill to require the Secretary of the Treasury to mint coins in commemoration of black Revolutionary War patriots; to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. THE BLACK REVOLUTIONARY WAR PATRIOTS COMMEMORATIVE COIN ACT OF 1995 Mr. CHAFEE. Mr. President, on behalf of myself and Senator Moseley-Braun, as well as Senators Simon, Campbell, Pell, and Thompson, I am introducing the black Revolutionary [[Page S 8824]] War patriots commemorative coin legislation. In 1986, Congress approved construction of a memorial celebrating the lives of more than 5,000 African-Americans who served, fought, and died during our Nation's Revolutionary War. Ironically, many of these brave Americans had never experienced the freedom and independence for which they fought. As a Rhode Islander, it gives me particular pleasure to sponsor this legislation. As few Americans know, of the estimated 5,000 African- Americans who served in the Continental Army, the vast majority were from New England, and a great number were from my State of Rhode Island. In fact, in 1778, Rhode Island approved the first slave enlistment act and the Black Regiment of Rhode Island was formed. This was one of only two all black regiments. The other was the Bucks of America of Boston. Not only did these men serve our Nation, they served with distinction. Regrettably throughout our history, their valor has been overlooked. Men like Jack Sisson of Rhode Island, who expertly steered one of five boats involved in the daring capture of British Maj. Gen. Richard Prescott at Newport in 1777, are barely mentioned in historical reports of the incident. Jack Sisson went on to join a regiment of some 200 black soldiers from my State, who, at the battle of Rhode Island, held their ground against several fierce attacks by British-Hessian forces, thereby allowing six American brigades to retreat. With scant training, but abundant courage, the First Rhode Island Regiment inflicted casualties of six to one on the professional troops of the Redcoats. Like African-American soldiers throughout the colonies, however, the soldiers of Rhode Island's First Regiment faced tragedy as well as triumph. In May 1781, the unit suffered a surprise attack by the British cavalry at Pines Bridge, and 40 soldiers lost their lives. Two years later, the regiment was disbanded unceremoniously in Oswego, NY. According to the historian John Harmon, the soldiers were told to find their own way home, and many died while making the trip. Further, despite the promise of freedom which had been made in order to entice them to enlist, some of the soldiers were actually reenslaved after their return. Valor and fortitude in battle always are worthy of celebration, but they are especially inspiring when one takes into account the hostility and oppression that African-American soldiers faced from the Nation for which they fought. As Harriet Beecher Stowe observed, They served a nation which did not acknowledge them as citizens and equals. . . It was not for their own land they fought, but for a land that enslaved them. Bravery under such circumstances, has particular beauty and merit. A portion of the proceeds from sales of the coin my legislation will authorize will help to pay for construction of the memorial. The Patriots Foundation already has raised $4 million for this purpose, and these additional funds are crucial if the memorial is to be completed. The design for the black Revolutionary War patriots memorial has been approved. It will be a 90-foot-long, 7-foot high, curved bronze wall located some 300 feet from the Vietnam Memorial in Constitution Gardens between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial. Figures of black soldiers will be sculpted in high and low relief and a black granite arch will be inscribed with historical information. Nancy Johnson has introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives, and it is my hope that this proposal will receive speedy approval by both bodies. ______ By Mr. HATFIELD (for himself and Mr. Moynihan): S. 954. A bill to authorize the Architect of the Capitol to establish a Capitol Visitor Center under the East Plaza of the United States Capitol, and for other purposes; to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. the capitol visitor center authorization act of 1995 Mr. HATFIELD. Mr. President, it is my great pleasure to introduce a bill that will make the U.S. Capitol more accessible to the American people. Over the past 200 years the U.S. Capitol has become more than a mere monument or museum. It is a living space, housing both Chambers of Congress, and hosting hundreds of thousands of visitors from across the globe annually. Today the U.S. Capitol Building stands as a symbol of our American ideals of liberty and freedom as much as it did on September 18, 1793, when President Washington laid the first stone into the ground. Mr. President, the Capitol Visitor Center Authorization Act of 1995 upholds our Nation's original commitment to citizen involvement in government by providing Americans with enhanced opportunities to witness their government at work. Located under the East Plaza of the U.S. Capitol, this new addition would ease visitor access to the Capitol, allowing the ever-increasing number of visitors to enter more quickly and efficiently. Visitors will also be treated to informative displays about the Capitol as they proceed underground to enter the building. And anyone who has ever visited Washington, DC in the summer or winter will greatly appreciate the importance of providing visitors with relief from the elements. In this period of scrutinizing government expenditures and balancing the budget, it is important to note that funding for the visitors center would come primarily from private gifts and donations. Contributions would be held in the U.S. Treasury under a separate account. Mr. President, above all, this historic legislation should be enacted because it fulfills the intent of the U.S. Capitol Building by further opening it up to the American people. The visitors center would be an educational facility to be enjoyed for many years to come. It is my pleasure to introduce this important legislation and I thank the senior Senator from New York, Senator Moynihan, for joining me as an original cosponsor. ____________________