SAUSAGE MAKING: Tribal components of bipartisan infrastructure deal come into focus

President Biden met with leaders from the labor and business communities to discuss the bipartisan infrastructure framework on July 22. (Courtesy photo) WASHINGTON — A flurry of activity by tribal leaders, advocates and lobbyists has taken place in recent weeks to ensure that Native American needs are addressed in the long-negotiated bipartisan federal infrastructure plan.

On July 28, as the White House and legislators announced that a $1 trillion overall deal was ready for a vote, with legislative text still being finalized, glimmers of tribal inclusion were coming into focus.

That tribes would be included in some fashion had already been made clear in an announcement by the White House on June 28 called a “Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework: Advancing Economic and Public Health Opportunities for Communities of Color.”

While that White House framework did not offer specific numbers designated for tribes, it did make clear that legislators on both sides of the aisle, as well as President Joe Biden, wanted to provide tribes with the opportunity to receive large amounts of funding for broadband, transportation, water and climate-related issues.

“A lot of negotiating has been going on at the committee level,” Mark Van Norman, a tribal lawyer and former executive director of the National Indian Gaming Association, told Tribal Business News after it was announced that the Senate would hold a cloture vote on the deal that passed the evening of July 28.

Van Norman, a citizen of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe who has played a key role in making sure tribal needs […]

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