Senate Indian Affairs Chairman Praises Senate-Passed Inflation Reduction Act’s Funding for Native Communities
Yesterday, the U.S. Senate passed its Inflation Reduction Act, legislation the Democratic majority put forward to combat climate change, lower health care costs, raise taxes on some of the wealthiest corporations, and reduce the federal deficit. The bill’s passage came after months of debate, which were required to get enough Senators on board. It ultimately passed on a party-line vote of 51-50 with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the tiebreaking vote.
In a statement after the bill cleared the Senate, Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawai’i), who chairs the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, heralded the climate and energy provisions that were specifically directed to Native American communities.
“Native communities have the technical expertise, capacity, and place-based knowledge needed to develop effective climate change and energy solutions,” Schatz said. “With critical investments in the Inflation Reduction Act, we’re making sure the federal government steps up to support Native-driven climate resilience, advance Tribal energy development, and fulfill its trust responsibility to Native communities.”
Specifically, the bill directs $272.5 million to Native communities for climate resilience and adaptation, $150 million for Tribal home electrification, $75 million for loans to Tribes for energy development, and a tenfold increase (from $2 billion to $20 billion) in loan guarantees for Tribal energy development.
The bill now goes to the House of Representatives, which is scheduled to debate and vote on the legislation on Friday.