Dear USET/USET SPF Family,
On August 10, 2021, the Senate passed H.R. 3684, the INVEST in America Act. This $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package authorizes approximately $15 billion in direct funding for Tribal Nations. This includes $2 billion in additional funding for the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Grant Program, $216 million to address climate change affecting Tribal Nations, and $3.5 billion over five years for improvements and construction of Indian Health Service sanitation facilities. Tribal Nations are also eligible to apply for an additional $146 billion through a competitive grant process—a process USET SPF has long opposed—to address infrastructure issues in Indian Country. The package will now be sent to the House of Representatives for further consideration.
The primary focus of this infrastructure package is to provide funding for transportation, water and sanitation, energy, broadband, and to address the effects of climate change and environmental sustainability. The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) has provided a summary of the Tribal provisions of H.R. 3684 – to view the topline summary please click here. NCAI is hosting a Tribal Leader Town Hall today at 2:00pm ET to provide an overview of the Tribal provisions of H.R. 3684 and to discuss next steps for the package in the House. To register for the Tribal Leader Town Hall, please click here.
Along with the physical infrastructure focus of the INVEST in America Act, a Budget Resolution, which passed earlier this morning, lays the groundwork for the next major legislative package. The Budget Resolution provides instructions for the anticipated $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill that will fund the White House and Congressional Democrat’s remaining recovery priorities, including investments in ‘human infrastructure,’ such as education, childcare, and paid leave. A minimum of $20.5 billion is allocated to Indian Country under the resolution, though this number is expected to increase as details are fleshed out. The reconciliation bill is expected to be drafted and passed on a partisan basis later this year. The two packages represent the Biden Administration’s plan for COVID-19 recovery.
In April 2021, USET SPF joined 30 Tribal organizations on a joint letter outlining the infrastructure priorities of Indian Country. These priorities included funding for healthcare, education, broadband, agriculture, energy, housing, and transportation. The letter also advocated for funding to address Tribal Nation tax parity and equity, economic and workforce development, climate change, child welfare, and Tribal governance funding and sustainability. We continue to emphasize these priorities in our advocacy around the infrastructure and reconciliation bills.
For more information, please contact Brian Howard, USET SPF Senior Policy Analyst, at email@example.com.