President Joe Biden will sign an executive order on Wednesday intended to make it easier for Native American tribes across the U.S. to secure federal funding.
The order, to coincide with the annual Tribal Nations Summit in Washington, will require U.S. agencies to take steps to ensure that federal funding for tribes is more accessible and equitable and better addresses the priorities of indigenous communities, according to the White House.
Agencies will be directed to pursue compacts, contracts and other agreements that allow tribes to partner with the government to administer programs and services. And they will be directed to identify ways to remove unnecessary restrictions on how tribes can spend federal funds and to mitigate cost-sharing requirements.
“Tribes will spend less of their resources cutting through bureaucratic red-tape to apply or comply with federal administrative requirements and use federal dollars more effectively,” according to a White House fact sheet.
The order also establishes the Tribal Access to Capital Clearinghouse, which the White House described as a “one-stop-shop for tribes and native businesses to find federal funding.” It will provide a database of all federal funding opportunities, including grants and loans.
The Tribal Nations Summit is a two-day gathering starting Wednesday that brings together tribal leaders, the president, cabinet officers and other senior officials to discuss the most pressing issues facing indigenous communities.
According to a 2021 report by the Brookings Institution, Native American voters were a factor in Biden’s close victories in Arizona and Wisconsin.
During the summit, the administration will also release the 2023 Progress Report for Tribal Nations, which will detail the steps taken under Biden to address those priorities. Tribal nations received $32 billion in the American Rescue Plan, $13 billion from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and $700 million in the Inflation Reduction Act, according to the White House.
“The summit is a unique and important opportunity to discuss ways in which the federal government invests in and strengthens nation to nation relationships. As well as ensuring that progress in Indian Country endures for years to come,” Interior Secretary Deb Haaland told reporters Tuesday.
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