Recent Press Releases

Washington, DC —  Senator John Thune (R-SD), member of the Senate Small Business Committee, today issued the following statement regarding a provision he authored to assist Native American communities in identifying and capitalizing on economic development opportunities with the greatest potential benefit to their respective community. The provision, co-authored by Senator Mike Enzi, (R-WY), was approved by the Senate Small Business Committee today as part of the larger Small Business Administration (SBA) reauthorization bill. This bill is expected to be considered by the full Senate in the near future.

"I'm pleased my provision to foster economic development among Native American communities was approved by the Small Business Committee today. This means we are one step closer to having an important tool for tribes to use across the country," Thune said. "A number of economic development opportunities are available to Indian Country, but the challenge lies in identifying which opportunities are best suited for each individual tribe and community. My provision would create a self-assessment tool to help each community identify and evaluate opportunities for economic growth and development that compliment their distinct set of circumstances. This tailored assessment would greatly help tribes in identifying and capitalizing on their strengths and potential, to lead to job creation and economic growth throughout Indian Country."

Senator Thune's provision would pose no new costs to the federal government. "While resources are vital to development in Indian Country, sometimes a good idea doesn't have to include more money," Thune said.

Key components of the Thune-Enzi provision include:
  • Authorizes a two-year pilot program for the Office of Native American Affairs (ONAA) to develop and publish a self-assessment tool for Native American communities. This tool will be used in evaluation and implementation of best practices for economic development. ONAA will be required to report on the effectiveness of the self-assessment tool.

  • Authorizes SBA, along with the Inter-Agency Working group, which is comprised of key federal agencies, to provide assistance in identifying economic development opportunities to Indian tribes.

  • The provision does not include or require authorization of appropriations.