Murkowski: Native American Challenge Act Heads to Senate

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, has announced that the Senate Indian Affairs committee passed the Native American Challenge Demonstration Project Act of 2010. The bill, championed by Murkowski, is cosponsored by Sens. Mark Begich D-Alaska, Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii and Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii.

Passed by the Committee on Thursday, the bill would direct the Secretary of Commerce to establish the Native American Challenge Demonstration Project which would allow tribes, tribal organizations, and Native Hawaiian organizations to enter into newly created 'Native Challenge Compacts.' Under these Compacts, the Department of Commerce and eligible organizations would negotiate an economic development strategy to address poverty in Native communities. In addition, the Compacts would allow these same organizations to use federal economic development funds more efficiently by coordinating and integrating funds provided by the Departments of Commerce; Agriculture; Energy; Interior; Health and Human Services and Housing and Urban Development.

“This bill would provide flexibility to tribes and tribal organizations in Alaska to focus federal economic development funds on strategies that would address the third world conditions experienced by many in rural Alaska," said Murkowski.

The bill now goes to the full Senate for consideration.

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