By Alex SinkwichUpdated Mar 13, 2018 09:04:51Senate Republicans could use a provision in the final farm bill to bar the Bureau of Indian Affairs from requiring tribes to pay grazing fees, but that won’t be enough to satisfy tribal leaders.
The Senate is set to vote Wednesday on an amendment from Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), which would prohibit the Bureau from requiring any tribe to pay the fees.
This would not, however, apply to any tribal lands or water bodies.
Stabenow, a member of the powerful Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, has the support of Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), who chairs the Finance, Housing and Urban Development and Rural Affairs panels.
The House is expected to take up the Stabenows amendment later Wednesday.
The amendment is supported by the powerful House Republican Caucus.
The BIA has been under fire from environmental groups and tribes in recent months as it continues to work with Congress to roll back environmental regulations and protections for Native Americans.
In a statement, the BIA said it has made significant progress on its efforts to make tribal grazing more sustainable.
“As we work with federal agencies to protect our nation’s grazing lands and waters, BIA is committed to providing all tribes with the tools to manage their land and water,” the agency said.
“We will continue to do everything in our power to provide our tribes the tools they need to manage and protect their lands, waters and other resources.”
Stabens amendment would make tribal lands and water bodies subject to the same grazing fees as non-tribally managed lands and the same federal environmental protections as tribal lands.
It’s not clear what the Senate would do with the amendment, given that the House has already voted to roll it back.
A Senate Democratic aide said the Senate was unlikely to vote on the Stabens amendment because of the bipartisan nature of the tribal affairs committee.
But if the Senate passes the Stabensenow amendment, the Senate GOP could find itself in a bind.
The Senate Banking Committee has a hard time voting with the Senate, as members of the committee are appointed by party leaders.
But the House GOP, which is controlled by House Speaker Paul Ryan (R.-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R.
Ky.), is expected not to back the Stabenhows amendment.
In other news, a Republican candidate for the Illinois Senate race, David Brat, is facing allegations of sexual misconduct.
Brat, a former congressional staffer, is a tea party favorite.
He lost his bid for the seat in 2014 to a Democratic incumbent.
The Democratic National Committee condemned the allegations against Brat.