The federal government has a unique treaty and trust relationship with our 567 sovereign tribal nations. As part of this relationship, the federal government has the responsibility to provide health, education and law enforcement, among other services, for American Indians and Native Alaskans. While significant progress has been made, the federal government still has work to do to fully meet its obligations to Native people.
I serve as Co-Chair Emeritus of the bipartisan Congressional Native American Caucus and as Chair of the Interior-Environment Appropriations Subcommittee. In both roles, I work closely with tribal leaders and Native communities to ensure adequate funding for the Indian Health Service, Indian Education, Indian School Construction, and Native American Housing Block Grants. Federal investments in health, education, economic development programs, and housing are vital to making Native American families and communities stronger.
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Madam Speaker, I rise today in support of the Senate Amendments to H.R. 4783, the Claims Resolution Act, and Cobell and Pigford II settlements now included.
This week Congresswoman Betty McCollum addressed three audiences on a diverse array of topics including Native American issues, historic preservation and infrastructure investments in St. Paul, and national energy policy, including energy efficiency and innovation. At each of these events Congresswoman McCollum emphasized the importance of the federal government working in partnership to keep communities strong and our economy growing.
Secretary Johnson, thank you coming before the Committee today to testify. For over a decade and from my time as a state legislator in Minnesota, I have worked on the issue of what to do with our nation's nuclear waste. Minnesota ratepayers have already contributed $714 million to the Nuclear Waste Fund to find a permanent solution to this problem, and yet the U.S. government still does not have an answer on how to store the nation's radioactive waste. I am deeply frustrated by this.