Hawaii Congressional Delegation Denounces Republican Efforts to Exclude Native Hawaiians from Native Housing Legislation
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Hawaii delegation submitted testimony to the Senate Indian Affairs Committee opposing S. 1275, the Bringing Useful Initiatives for Indian Development (BUIILD) Act of 2017.
The BUIILD Act would reauthorize all Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act (NAHASDA) programs, except for those related to Native Hawaiians.
Congress has repeatedly acknowledged the special relationship between the U.S. government and Native Hawaiians. Most recently, in 2015, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a NAHASDA reauthorization bill with bipartisan support and the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs favorably reported out a Senate version to reauthorize NAHASDA. Both bills included Native Hawaiian housing programs as well as bipartisan work to improve Native communities’ ability to address local housing needs, all of which are not included in the BUIILD Act.
“It is incumbent upon Congress to continue to acknowledge our responsibility to protect and improve the lives of Native Americans, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians, which the BUIILD Act, in its present form, does not do,” wrote Representative Colleen Hanabusa, Senator Brian Schatz, Senator Mazie K. Hirono, and Representative Tulsi Gabbard. “As such, we urge members of this committee to oppose the BUIILD Act and to continue to work to improve on the progress made on NAHASDA reauthorization in the last several years.”