U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs

05/15/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 05/15/2019 15:59

Hoeven Holds Oversight Hearing on the President's FY 2020 Budget Request for Indian Programs and Legislative Hearing on the AUTOS Act


Click here to watch Chairman Hoeven's opening remarks

WASHINGTON - Senator John Hoeven (R-ND), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, today held an oversight and a legislative hearing. The oversight hearing was a continuation of last week's Committee hearing on 'The President's FY 2020 Budget Request for Indian Programs.' Additionally, the committee held a legislative hearing to receive testimony on Hoeven's bill, S. 1211, the Addressing Underdeveloped and Tribally Operated StreetsAct, also known as the AUTOS Act.

'Last week, we heard from two witnesses from the Administration and two tribal leaders representing national tribal organizations on the President's Fiscal Year 2020 Budget Request for Indian Programs,' said Hoeven at the oversight hearing. 'Through its offices and programs, the DOJ provides public safety and law enforcement resources to Indian Tribes across the country. No matter how small or large a Tribe is, the DOJ provides support and resources to nearly 200 Indian reservations.'


Earlier this year, Chairman Hoeven introduced the AUTOS Act, which would enhance the safety of roads on Indian lands by streamlining existing federal procedures and funding mechanisms used to repair roads and bridges in Indian country.

'On April 11, I introduced the Addressing Underdeveloped and Tribally Operated Streets Act, or AUTOS Act, with Senators Cramer and McSally,' said Hoeven at the legislative hearing. 'S. 1211 would provide additional resources and tools at the Department of Transportation and the Bureau of Indian Affairs so that Tribes can maintain, repair, or replace damaged roads or bridges.'

The AUTOS Act would:

  • Permit certain traffic safety projects that are identified by the Secretary of the Interior to be eligible for categorical exclusion. The Department of Transportation already allows these categorical exclusions for safety projects.
  • Authorize $46 million for the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Road Maintenance Program, with increases of $2 million per year.
  • Reinstate the Tribal Transportation Bridge Program as a standalone program instead of a 2% carve out in the Tribal Transportation Program.
  • Direct the Secretaries of the Interior and Transportation to work with Indian Tribes in developing a standard and uniform crash report form.
  • Direct BIA law enforcement to use one standard crash report form.
  • Increase funding available for the Tribal Safety Transportation Program Safety Fund from 2 percent to 4 percent.

The Committee heard testimony from Mr. Matt M. Dummermuth, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice; Mr. John Tahsuda III, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary - Indian Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior; and The Honorable Jamie Azure, Chairman, Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians.

For witness testimony and video of the oversight and legislative hearings, click here.