CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
The House is scheduled to consider S. 1448 under a suspension of the rules, requiring a two-thirds majority vote for passage, on Tuesday, December 14, 2010. S. 1448 was introduced on July 14, 2009, by Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and was approved in the Senate by unanimous consent on September 22, 2010. The bill was referred to the House Natural Resources Committee, which took no official action.
S. 1448 would authorize the Coquille Indian Tribe, the Confederated Tribes of the Siletz Indians, the Confederated Tribes of the Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw, the Klamath Tribes, and the Burns Paiute Tribe to lease lands held in trust for up to 99 years—as opposed to 25 years under current law. 99 year leases would be subject to the approval of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA).
According to House Report 111-245, Congress enacted the Long-Term Leasing Act, in 1955 to allow some land transactions between Indian tribes and nonfederal parties (specifically, the leasing of Indian lands). Current law requires that leases of Indian lands be approved by the Secretary of the Interior and limited lease terms to 25 years. As business opportunities and economic considerations changed over time, leases longer than 25 years were desired. To facilitate economic development on trust lands, over the years, a number of tribes have obtained amendments to the Long-Term Leasing Act so that they could enter into leases for terms longer than 25 years. Approximately 50 tribes have obtained these amendments and all are listed in the Long-Term Leasing Act as having authority to enter into leases for terms as long as 99 years.
According to CBO, S. 1448 “would have no significant effect on the federal budget.”