Report text available as:

  • TXT
  • PDF   (PDF provides a complete and accurate display of this text.) Tip ?
                                                        Calendar No. 52
104th Congress                                                   Report

 1st Session                                                     104-29



    April 6 (legislative day, April 5), 1995.--Ordered to be printed

    Mr. McCain, from the Committee on Indian Affairs, submitted the 

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 349]

    The Committee on Indian Affairs, to which was referred the 
bill (S. 349) to reauthorize appropriations for the Navajo-Hopi 
Relocation Housing Program, having considered the same, reports 
favorably thereon without amendment and recommends that the 
bill do pass.


    The purpose of S. 349 is to amend the Navajo-Hopi Land 
Dispute Settlement Act, P.L. 93-531 (25 U.S.C. 640d-24(a)(8)), 
to extend the authorization for appropriations for the Navajo 
Hopi Relocation Housing program through the end of fiscal year 
1997. The current authorization expires at the end of the 1995 
fiscal year.


    The Navajo-Hopi Land Dispute Settlement Act was enacted in 
1974 in an effort to settle land disputes which had divided the 
Navajo and Hopi tribes for more than a century. Among other 
things, the 1974 Act required the partition of the disputed 
lands and the relocation of the members of each tribe from the 
lands partitioned to the other tribe. This has proven to be an 
extremely difficult and contentious process. The original Act 
was amended in 1980 and again in 1987 to try to resolve 
problems which arose in its implementation.
    Since the enactment of the Settlement Act, 4,432 Navajo and 
Hopi families have applied for relocation benefits. Of those, 
3,264 have been certified eligible and 1,168 have been denied 
benefits. Of those who were denied benefits, 218 are engaged in 
active appeals. As of the end of January, 1995, a total of 
2,518 had been relocated and 746 eligible families were 
awaiting their benefits. Of the families relocated, 2,434 are 
Navajo and 23 are Hopi. Of the 746 families awaiting benefits, 
742 are Navajo and 4 are Hopi.
    Most of the families still awaiting benefits, long ago 
complied with the law and voluntarily left their homes which 
are located on lands partitioned to the other tribe. The pace 
of the relocation housing program has been such that on average 
fewer than 200 hundred eligible families are served in any 
fiscal year. In addition to the eligible Navajo and Hopi 
families awaiting relocation, there are estimated to be between 
50 and 150 Navajo families residing on lands partitioned to the 
Hopi tribe who have never applied for relocation benefits.
    For the past three years the Court of Appeals for the Ninth 
Circuit has assigned a mediator to attempt to negotiate leases 
with the Hopi tribe for these Navajo families. The mediation 
effort is related to litigation pending before the court which 
involves the issue of whether the relocation program violates 
the religious freedom of the members of the Navajo Nation who 
are subject to relocation under the Settlement Act.
    The Office of Navajo and Hopi Indian Relocation filed a 
report with the Congress on February 28, 1995 with its 
recommendations for completion of the relocation program and 
the phase out of the office. The report indicates that as many 
as 1,000 additional families may be determined to be eligible 
for relocation assistance after the completion of all appeals 
and legal challenges. The office estimates that the total time 
required to complete the relocation program and shut down the 
office will be approximately 9 years. According to the report, 
many factors contribute to the slow pace of the relocation 
program including difficulty in finding on-reservation 
homesites, the voluntary nature of the program, archaeological 
clearances, livestock grazing issues, and problems related to 
individual relocatees.
    Under the completion and phase out plan recommended by the 
office, annual funding would decline from the 1995 level of 
$24,888 million to $21,771 million in 2003. The plan assumes 
that about 100 families would be served in each year and that 
some families would be provided a cash benefit instead of a 
replacement home. Since 1975, the Congress has appropriated 
about $356 million for the relocation program. Of that amount, 
about $235 million has been expended on the relocation housing 

                          Legislative History

    S. 349 was introduced on February 2, 1995, by Senators 
McCain and Kyl and was referred to the Committee on Indian 
Affairs. A hearing was held on the bill by the Committee on 
Indian Affairs on March 15, 1995.

            Committee Recommendation and Tabulation of Vote

    In an open business session on March 29, 1995, the 
Committee on Indian Affairs ordered the bill reported without 
amendment, with the recommendation that the Senate pass the 
bill as reported.

                          Summary of the Bill

    Section 1 of the bill amends section 25(a)(8) of Public Law 
93-531 (25 U.S.C. 640d-24(a)(8)) by striking ``1989,'' and all 
that follows through ``1995.'' and inserting ``1995, 1996, and 

                   Cost and Budgetary Considerations

    The cost estimate for S. 349, as calculated by the 
Congressional Budget Office is set forth below:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                     Washington, DC, April 5, 1995.
Hon. John McCain,
Chairman, Committee on Indian Affairs,
U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for S. 349, a bill to 
reauthorize appropriations for the Navajo-Hopi Relocation 
Housing Program.
    Enactment of S. 349 would not affect direct spending or 
receipts. Therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures would not apply 
to the bill.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them.
                                                   June E. O'Neill.


    1. Bill number: S. 349.
    2. Bill title: A bill reauthorize appropriations for the 
Navajo-Hopi Relocation Housing Program.
    3. Bill status: As ordered reported by the Senate Committee 
on Indian Affairs on March 29, 1995.
    4. Bill purpose: S. 349 would reauthorize appropriations 
for the Office of Navajo-Hopi Indian Relocation for fiscal 
years 1996 and 1997.
    5. Estimated cost to the Federal Government: Assuming that 
the Congress appropriates the full amounts authorized for 1996 
and 1997 and that outlays follow historical patterns, enacting 
S.349 would affect spending as shown below.

                      1995     1996     1997     1998     1999     2000 
Current Law:                                                            
     Authority....       25       --       --       --       --       --
     Outlays......       26        9       --       --       --       --
Proposed Changes:                                                       
     Level........       --       30       30       --       --       --
     Outlays......       --       20       30       10       --       --
Total Spending                                                          
 under S. 349:                                                          
     Level \1\....       25       30       30       --       --       --
     Outlays......       26       29       30       10       --       --
\1\ The 1995 level is the amount appropriated for that year.            

    The costs of this bill fall within budget function 800.
    6. Pay-as-you-go considerations: None.
    7. Estimated cost to state and local governments: None.
    8. Estimate comparison: None.
    9. Previous CBO estimate: None.
    10. Estimate prepared by: Rachel Robertson.
    11. Estimate approved by: Paul N. Van de Water, Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.

                      Regulatory Impact Statement

    Paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI of the Standing Rules of the 
Senate requires each report accompanying a bill to evaluate the 
regulatory and paperwork impact that would be incurred in 
carrying out the bill. The Committee believes that S. 349 will 
have minimal regulatory or paperwork impact.

                        Executive Communications

    The Executive Director of the Office of Navajo and Hopi 
Indian Relocation appeared before the Committee at the hearing 
on S. 349 on March 15, 1995. The Executive Director's prepared 
statement on the bill follows:

                        Changes in Existing Law

    In compliance with subsection 12 of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee states that the 
enactment of S. 349 will result in the following changes in 25 
U.S.C. 640d-24(a) (8), with existing language which is to be 
deleted in black brackets and the new language to be added in 
          ``(8) For the purposes of carrying out the provisions 
        of section 640d-14 of this title, there is authorized 
        to be appropriated not to exceed $30,000,000 annually 
        for fiscal years [1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 
        and 1995.] 1995, 1996, and 1997.''


                                   U.S. Government,
                                       Office of Navajo and
                                            Hopi Indian Relocation.
    Statement before the Senate Select Committee on Indian 
Affairs. In support of Reauthorization Legislation for the 
Office of Navajo and Hopi Indian Relocation through Fiscal Year 
    Mr. Chairman: I am pleased to be here today appearing 
before this Committee to testify in support of the 
Reauthorization Legislation currently pending.
    The legislation currently pending would reauthorize the 
appropriation of funding for construction of relocation homes 
for fiscal years 1996 and 1997. There are currently 750 heads 
of household who have received from the ONHIR a letter of 
eligibility for a federal benefit, (replacement housing, bonus, 
moving expenses, etc.). The Office estimates that upon 
resolution of pending court cases and administrative appeals 
approximately 100 additional individuals will be determined to 
be eligible for benefits. If funding for these benefits is not 
provided for the Office, individuals determined to be eligible 
for benefits might sue on a claim that they have been deprived 
of an entitlement to relocation benefits. In addition, some of 
these individuals relocated with the expectation that they 
would be receiving benefits. In order to provide housing for 
individuals that have been or are likely to be determined to be 
eligible for benefits, the Office encourages passage of this 
bill to, at a minimum, provide housing funding for the next two 
    I would also like to note that the Office has been involved 
during the last three years in extensive re-evaluation and 
assessment of our program.
    In 1993, the Office began a process of critically examining 
our organization and functions. Although the office was 
specifically exempt from the Executive Order directing a 
reduction in staffing, we determined that it was in the best 
interests of good government and responsiveness to our clients 
to identify areas where we could make savings through reducing 
expenditures and staffing. Indeed, the Office had already begun 
to reduce staffing through attrition and a self-imposed freeze 
on hiring. The staffing of the agency had thus been reduced 
from a high of 97 in 1992 to a total of 91 persons in 1994. 
This represents a 6 percent staff reduction.
    From a management perspective, we viewed the National 
Performance Review initiatives as a positive opportunity to 
continue to implement those policies and activities begun in 
1993, specifically as concerns the intention to down-size. That 
is precisely what we have done, and it has provided us a 
specific, systematic means to accomplish an orderly reduction 
in spending and staffing, while continuing to provide service 
to our clients and conclude the relocation program.
    As part of the reinvention process, the Office held several 
one-day, all staff sessions, during the summer and fall of 
1994, dealing with any matter which any staff member felt would 
improve the operation of the agency. As a result of these 
discussions, the Office developed a list of administrative 
changes and improvements that fell into two categories; those 
which could and have been implemented immediately, and those 
which would require further development prior to 
implementation. The Office has also, as a result of the 
reinvention process, altered its organizational structure to 
establish a plan for self-directed work teams in all of the 
areas of office operation. This restructuring, when fully 
implemented during the next two to three months, will result in 
reduction of the number of individuals with supervisory 
responsibility which will be in excess of the National 
Performance Review goals set by the President.
    Finally, we are currently in the process of conducting our 
customer satisfaction survey, as required by the reinvention 
process, and should have final results by mid-summer of this 
    In late September of 1994, the Office began preparation of 
a relocation completion and agency phase-out plan requested by 
the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee. We utilized 
many of the existing elements of our reinvention process in the 
plan for relocation completion. New elements have been included 
in the relocation plan as a result of the House Interior 
Appropriations Subcommittee's request for a plan to finalize 
the relocation process and transfer the function of the agency 
to a successor entity. We have provided copies of this plan to 
your Committee.
    The Office believes this plan offers the best potential for 
completion of relocation in the event that the mediation effort 
ordered by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth 
Circuit fails. The mediation effort seeks to achieve a 
consensual resolution under which Navajos who wish to remain on 
Hopi land could do so under a 75-year lease arrangement 
providing an option to relocation. The plan for relocation 
completion contains recommendations for; incentives which would 
assist the Hopi Tribe in re-establishing its presence on the 
HPL, incentives to encourage the remaining Navajos residing on 
the HPL to voluntarily comply with relocation, and alternative 
compensation strategies for non-HPL residents for whom an 
actual physical relocation is not feasible.
    Finally, the Plan briefly addresses the issue of 
involuntary relocation of those individuals who do not make 
timely arrangements to relocate. The existing Act mandates that 
members of one tribe relocate from lands partitioned to the 
Tribe of which they are not members, regardless of whether the 
party wishes to move. Congress anticipated that some households 
would not make timely application for benefits or choose to 
relocate. Accordingly, the Act authorized the Office to take 
that household's benefits and acquire or construct a 
replacement home for such families off of the lands of the 
other tribe. The Office is charged with constructing homes off 
of the HPL for Navajos eligible for benefits who do not make a 
housing selection. Absent clarification from either Congress or 
the courts as to a deadline for voluntary relocation and a 
timeframe for construction of housing for individuals who will 
not voluntarily participate in the program, this agency cannot 
forecast a plan or budget for completion of relocation.
    I believe the plan, which also includes an update to the 
historical background of relocation and its statistical 
elements, presents a clear representation of the many issues 
involved, illustrates how we reached our conclusions and 
demonstrates an orderly means to reduce and eventually 
eliminate the Office.
    To the extent possible we have tried to quantify 
information to demonstrate how conclusions were reached and 
assure the minimum adverse impact to those persons being 
relocated. In achieving down-sizing in advance of phase-out we 
have carefully considered and suggested means to protect 
employees' rights.
    I believe the information in the plan demonstrates a 
commitment to the continuing aim of reducing the size of 
government, but also assures that the government can retain 
qualified employees to carry out the remainder of the 
relocation program.
    I thank the Subcommittee for its attention and we will be 
pleased to respond to any questions you have for us.

                                     Christopher J. Bavasi,
                                                Executive Director.