Head of Senate’s Indian Affairs Committee Would Improve Compact Approval

Senator John Barrasso (l.), who heads the committee that oversees Indian affairs in Washington, wants to revise many federal laws that impact tribes, including the process for approving state tribal compacts easier.

Senator John Barrasso, newly installed as chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, promised last week to introduce legislation to help make it easier for tribes to navigate the federal bureaucracy, and to pass state tribal gaming compacts.

According to a statement issued by Barrasso, “my top priorities are jobs, energy and natural resource development, healthcare, education, juvenile justice, and tribal self-governance. The more progress we can make on these issues, the more progress we can make in helping families.”

Tribal goals of self-sufficiency, good health and prosperity, “are often stymied by Federal bureaucracy,” he said.

The senator recently introduced the “Department of the Interior Tribal Self-Governance Act of 2015” which would, he said, “improve the process for negotiating, reviewing, and approving tribal compacts with the Bureau of Indian Affairs.”