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112th Congress Report
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
2d Session 112-451
INDIAN TRIBAL TRADE AND INVESTMENT DEMONSTRATION PROJECT ACT OF 2011
April 19, 2012.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the
State of the Union and ordered to be printed
Mr. Hastings of Washington, from the Committee on Natural Resources,
submitted the following
R E P O R T
ADDITIONAL AND DISSENTING VIEWS
[To accompany H.R. 2362]
[Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]
The Committee on Natural Resources, to whom was referred
the bill (H.R. 2362) to facilitate economic development by
Indian tribes and encourage investment by Turkish enterprises,
having considered the same, report favorably thereon without
amendment and recommend that the bill do pass.
PURPOSE OF THE BILL
The purpose of H.R. 2362 is to facilitate economic
development by Indian tribes and encourage investment by
BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR LEGISLATION
Economic development on tribal lands is hampered by
restrictive laws and regulations regarding the way tribes lease
their lands. For example, simple leases can take a tribe
several years to complete, in contrast to a simple lease on
private land that can take as little as a week. A lengthier
discussion on tribal leasing problems is contained in the
Committee report accompanying H.R. 205, a similar bill
concerning the lease of tribal lands for non-mineral purposes.
To aid economic growth in Indian Country, like H.R. 205,
H.R. 2362 simplifies tribal leasing. Specifically, the bill
allows up to six Indian tribes or a consortia of tribes to
participate in an Indian Tribal Trade and Investment
Demonstration Project with Turkish private companies.
Specifically, participating tribes would be allowed to lease
land held in trust for them by the federal government without
the Secretary of the Interior's approval if the lease: (1)
furthers economic, community, or business development with a
Turkish entity; (2) is entered into within 1 year of this Act's
enactment; (3) is not for mineral exploration, development, or
extraction; (4) does not include land held in trust for an
individual Indian; (5) is executed under tribal regulations
approved by the Secretary; and (6) has a term that does not
exceed 25 years (but can be renewed for up to two terms).
Furthermore, before the Secretary signs off on any tribal
demonstration program, an adequate environmental review process
will be required from the tribe.
During a hearing on the bill held in the Subcommittee on
Indian and Alaska Native Affairs, a tribal witness explained
that Turkey has a long track record of promoting good relations
and trade between its private business community and Indian
tribes in the United States. The intent of the bill is to
further such relations to increase private business development
in Indian Country where economic diversification is greatly
During the full Committee markup of H.R. 2362, concerns and
objections were raised by several Minority members because of
the focus on Turkish companies. Much of the debate concerned
the foreign policy of the United States and its relations with
Turkey, a subject more appropriate for the Committee on Foreign
Affairs to consider. The Natural Resources Committee is
primarily concerned with proposals to increase business
opportunities on impoverished Indian reservation communities in
the United States. Because H.R. 2362 advances this goal, the
bipartisan bill was ordered reported favorably to the full
H.R. 2362 was introduced on June 24, 2011, by Congressman
Tom Cole (R-OK). The bill was referred to the Committee on
Natural Resources, and within the Committee to the Subcommittee
on Indian and Alaska Native Affairs. On November 3, 2011, the
Subcommittee held a hearing on the bill. On November 17, 2011,
the Natural Resources Committee met to consider the bill. The
Subcommittee on Indian and Alaska Native Affairs was discharged
by unanimous consent. Congressman John Sarbanes (D-MD) offered
amendment designated .020 to the bill; the amendment was ruled
out of order. The bill, as amended, was then ordered favorably
reported to the House of Representatives by a record vote of
27-15, as follows:
COMMITTEE OVERSIGHT FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Regarding clause 2(b)(1) of rule X and clause 3(c)(1) of
rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, the
Committee on Natural Resources' oversight findings and
recommendations are reflected in the body of this report.
COMPLIANCE WITH HOUSE RULE XIII
1. Cost of Legislation. Clause 3(d)(1) of rule XIII of the
Rules of the House of Representatives requires an estimate and
a comparison by the Committee of the costs which would be
incurred in carrying out this bill. However, clause 3(d)(2)(B)
of that rule provides that this requirement does not apply when
the Committee has included in its report a timely submitted
cost estimate of the bill prepared by the Director of the
Congressional Budget Office under section 402 of the
Congressional Budget Act of 1974. Under clause 3(c)(3) of rule
XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives and section
403 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the Committee has
received the following cost estimate for this bill from the
Director of the Congressional Budget Office:
H.R. 2362--Indian Tribal Trade and Investment Demonstration Project Act
H.R. 2362 would allow up to six tribes to enter into
certain leases of trust lands without approval of the Bureau of
Indian Affairs (BIA).\1\ Based on information provided by the
Department of the Interior, CBO estimates that implementing the
bill would have no significant impact on the federal budget.
Enacting H.R. 2362 would not affect direct spending or
revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply.
\1\Trust lands are tribally owned lands that are legally held by
the federal government for the benefit of tribal governments or
individual tribal members.
Under current law, most tribes can lease trust lands to
certain entities for up to 25 years, subject to the approval of
BIA. Under the bill, up to six tribes would be authorized to
enter into leases with Turkish businesses without BIA approval
if those leases were subject to certain tribal regulations
approved by the agency. Any lease involving the exploration for
or extraction of natural resources would still require approval
from BIA. CBO estimates that the legislation would have a
negligible impact on BIA's workload.
H.R. 2362 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and
would impose no costs on State, local, or tribal governments.
The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Martin von
Gnechten. The estimate was approved by Theresa Gullo, Deputy
Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.
2. Section 308(a) of Congressional Budget Act. As required
by clause 3(c)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of
Representatives and section 308(a) of the Congressional Budget
Act of 1974, this bill does not contain any new budget
authority, spending authority, credit authority, or an increase
or decrease in revenues or tax expenditures. Based on
information provided by the Department of the Interior, CBO
estimates that implementing the bill would have no significant
impact on the federal budget.
3. General Performance Goals and Objectives. As required by
clause 3(c)(4) of rule XIII, the general performance goal or
objective of this bill is to facilitate economic development by
Indian tribes and encourage investment by Turkish enterprises.
This bill does not contain any Congressional earmarks,
limited tax benefits, or limited tariff benefits as defined
under clause 9(e), 9(f), and 9(g) of rule XXI of the Rules of
the House of Representatives.
COMPLIANCE WITH PUBLIC LAW 104-4
This bill contains no unfunded mandates as defined under
Public Law 104-4.
PREEMPTION OF STATE, LOCAL OR TRIBAL LAW
This bill is not intended to preempt any State, local or
CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW
If enacted, this bill would make no changes in existing
H.R. 2362: INDIAN TRIBAL TRADE AND INVESTMENT DEMONSTRATION PROJECT ACT
H.R. 2362 specifically designates the Republic of Turkey as
the sole foreign entity to engage in demonstration projects
with tribes. Considering historic and recent action on the part
of the Republic of Turkey there is great reason not to give the
country any type of preferential treatment. There are many
examples of how Turkey's policies are in conflict with American
interests and values.
Turkey continues to deny the first genocide of the
twentieth century, the Armenian Genocide. Between 1915 and
1923, 1.5 million Armenians were systematically and
deliberately killed by the Ottoman Turks. The Armenian Genocide
is a dark day in history, and we must not allow the Republic of
Turkey to continue their policy of denial and pretend that this
century's first genocide never happened.
On July 20th 1974, Turkey invaded Cyprus in violation of
international law and at great cost to the citizens of Cyprus.
The invasion forced nearly 200,000 Greek Cypriots to flee their
homes--making one-third of the Cypriot population refugees in
their own country. Today, Turkey continues to illegally occupy
northern Cyprus with a force of approximately 43,000 troops.
Recently, Turkey threatened important U.S. allies. After
signing an agreement to cooperate on natural resource
development in their Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ), Cyprus and
Israel became targets of Turkish aggression. Further, a U.S.
based company which has entered into an agreement to carry out
development of these natural resources has also been subject to
threats from the Turkish government. The Natural Resources
Committee should be particularly troubled by a foreign nation
using aggressive action and threats in an attempt to dictate
how a nation pursues the development of their natural
Finally, while enhancing tribal sovereignty and promoting
economic development and vitality on tribal lands should be a
priority of the committee, these objectives would be more
effectively accomplished through passage of H.R. 205: the
HEARTH Act (Heinrich, D-NM). H.R. 205 would permit all tribes,
not just a select few, to engage in leasing activities without
federal oversight under certain circumstances. H.R. 205 does
not discriminate which countries would be able to participate
in the demonstration projects and would allow tribes to pursue
agreements on a more open basis that is to their benefit.
Frank Pallone, Jr.
H.R. 2362: INDIAN TRIBAL TRADE AND INVESTMENT DEMONSTRATION PROJECT ACT
Nothing in H.R. 2362 could not be accomplished by passage
of H.R. 205: the HEARTH Act (Heinrich, D-NM), which permits all
tribes, not a select few on a demonstration project basis, to
engage in leasing activities without federal oversight under
certain circumstances. The HEARTH Act, unlike H.R. 2362, has
the overwhelming support of Indian Country and has been the
subject of two legislative hearings since first being
introduced in the 110th Congress. There is simply no reason to
enact H.R. 2362 for the benefit of a select few when all tribes
would benefit equally under H.R. 205.
In addition to its duplicative nature, H.R. 2362
specifically authorizes the Republic of Turkey, above any other
country in the world, to engage in economic development
activities on tribal lands. The need for such special treatment
was not clearly addressed in a hearing on the bill and the
precise industries that may be targeted for development through
Turkish-tribal ventures went similarly undetermined. Equally
unclear are the purposes for which tribes may engage in leasing
activities with the Republic. As written, the bill states that
any lease should simply be connected with a project or activity
``related'' to a purpose for which a participating tribe
receives funding from two or more federal programs. Such
``related'' purposes remain unspecified except in the most
general terms; at a hearing on the bill, Turkish and Tribal
witnesses stated that ``construction'' and the ``leather
industry'' would be targeted. Legislation purporting to free
tribes from federal oversight of leasing activity on a
demonstration project basis must be more specific. This is
especially important when the United States disclaims all
liability for losses the participating tribes might suffer
under such leases as it does in this legislation.
In addition, the bill strictly, and unnecessarily, limits
the applicant pool for the demonstration project. The applicant
pool of tribes that may be selected to participate in the
demonstration project is limited to only those tribes or tribal
consortia that currently participate in self-determination
contracting under the Indian Self-Determination and Education
Assistance Act, 25 U.S.C. Sec. Sec. 450 et seq. Tribes without
self-determination contracts in place are automatically
prevented from participating in the demonstration project. The
bill thus eliminates a large category of tribes and as a result
creates classes of tribes based on their eligibility to conduct
business--not their need. A broader, more inclusive authority
for tribes to engage in business development leasing on their
tribal lands without Secretarial oversight, like that which is
reflected in H.R. 205 is better policy.
Finally, there is the matter of the bill's workability:
unless H.R. 2362 addresses some unstated prearranged program,
it is unlikely that a tribe would be able to draft leasing
regulations, get them approved by the Secretary, and enter into
a lease with a Turkish entity in connection with a program or
activity related to a purpose for which the tribe is already
receiving federal funds within one year.
We fully support enhancing tribal authorities to engage in
business development on tribal lands with any entity, foreign
or domestic. However, H.R. 2362 presents too many unanswered
questions relating to scope, purpose, need and workability.
H.R. 205 is the better legislative vehicle under which tribes
may fully engage in economic development activities through
leasing of tribal lands. H.R. 2362 should be rejected by the
Edward J. Markey.
Grace F. Napolitano.
John P. Sarbanes.
Raul M. Grijalva.