S. 1579, NATIVE Act

S. 1579

NATIVE Act

Sponsor
Sen. Brian Schatz

Date
September 12, 2016 (114th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

On­­­­ Monday, September 12, 2016, the House will consider S.1579, the NATIVE Act, under suspension of the rules. S. 1579 was introduced on June 16, 2015, by Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) and was referred to the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, which ordered the bill reported without amendment on October 7, 2015. The Senate passed S.1579 with an amendment by unanimous consent on April 25, 2016, and the bill was subsequently referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources. The House Committee on Natural Resources ordered S. 1579 reported by unanimous consent on July 13, 2016.

Bill Summary

S. 1579 is intended to enhance and integrate Native American tourism into the National Travel and Tourism Strategy and increase culturally appropriate Native American tourism opportunities through better coordination and collaboration among federal agencies, without authorizing any new appropriations. Furthermore, this bill would foster the creation of tourism jobs and support economic development for Native American Communities.

Background

According to the Department of Commerce, there were approximately 34.938 million overseas travelers to the United States in 2014, and it is estimated that tourism in the United States was a $221 billion industry for the same year. Furthermore, approximately one out of every 18 Americans works for a travel or tourism-related enterprise.[1]

Recently, the American Indian and Alaska Native Tourism Association has acknowledged a growing interest in Indian Country as a popular tourist destination in the United States. Specifically, more than 1.65 million overseas travelers have visited Indian Country, and visitors to Indian Country increased overall from 3.5% in 2011 to 4.8% in 2014. American Indian communities continue to see increases in tourism particularly with travelers from China, the United Kingdom, and France.[2]

Overseas tourism makes up a significant portion of revenue and job creation for Native American communities, and many of these Native American owned businesses and Indian tribes are using culturally appropriate tourism as a growing staple of their overall economic development strategy. Unfortunately, current federal tourism policies and programs in the United States are unable to provide the coordination and integration necessary for American Indians, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiians to capitalize and promote tourism at the highest capacity in their respective communities. This legislation would help to create new economic development in Native American communities through the expansion and increased coordination of cultural and heritage-based tourism initiatives among federal agencies with access to tourism assets.[3]

According to the bill’s sponsor, this legislation “aims to empower native communities and give them the resources to share their history and culture with travelers from around the globe.”[4]

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[1] See Senate Report 114-201, at 2.
[2] Id.
[3] Id, at 1-2.
[4] See Sen. Schatz’s Press Release, June 16, 2015.

Cost

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that enactment of the bill would have no significant effect on the federal budget and would not affect revenues. CBO estimates that any costs incurred by agencies to meet the specific requirements of the bill would not exceed $500,000 and would be subject to the availability of appropriated funds.

Additional Information

For questions or further information please contact John Wilson with the House Republican Policy Committee by email or at 6-1811.