Torres and Cole Introduce 'Jobs for Tribes Act' to Ignite Economic Development Throughout Indian Country
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Rep. Norma J. Torres (D-CA) and Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) introduced the Jobs for Tribes Act, a bill that will strengthen Indian Country’s ability to become more self-sufficient by providing urgently needed business and economic development assistance.
Native Americans face barriers and challenges, such as lack of infrastructure and access to capital, which contribute to the high rates of poverty and unemployment. Aggravating these problems is the lack of parity in treatment of Indian tribes as governmental entities under federal tax and other regulatory laws which has blocked tribes’ ability to benefit from other investment incentives accorded to state and local governmental entities. The Jobs for Tribes Act would support Indian Country’s ability to become more self-reliant and tap into tribes’ entrepreneurial spirit by providing urgently needed business and economic development assistance to American Indian and Alaska Native communities, their enterprises and businesses. The legislation also requires the development of a strategy for the promotion and facilitation of increased trade between Native American tribes and indigenous peoples of the Western hemisphere.
“The high rates of poverty and unemployment facing Native American communities are cause for unified action. This legislation will empower tribes and boost indigenous peoples ability to help themselves and their families prosper,” said Torres. “It’s time we come together to support commerce in Indian Country by backing them with the tools they need to tap into their entrepreneurial spirit and stimulate job creation.
The National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development, National Congress of American Indians, Native American Contractors Association, Coalition of Large Tribes, United and South Eastern Tribes, and Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians all support the bill.
Cole said, “Indian Country has been a critical part of our nation’s economy for years. Many tribes have had success in entrepreneurship and in businesses large and small. Providing economic and infrastructure assistance for tribal communities will help strengthen their ability to become self-sufficient and develop commercial growth. Native American-owned enterprises have contributed enormously to the American economy, and I am proud to support this legislation to help these businesses continue to flourish.”
Congresswoman Norma Torres currently serves as Ranking Member on the Indian, Insular and Alaska Native Affairs Subcommittee on the House Committee on Natural Resources, the subcommittee which oversees all matters regarding Native Americans. Congressman Tom Cole Currently serves as the Co-Chair of the Native American Caucus.