The Senate Indian Affairs Committee a few moments ago approved, without discussion or dissent, a bill that would reauthorize Native Hawaiian homeownership programs through HUD. The committee is chaired by Sen. Daniel Akaka, and the bill was sponsored by he and Sen. Daniel Inouye. Inouye is not present at the hearing.
The next step for Senate Bill 65, titled the “Hawaiian Homeownership Opportunity Act of 2011,” would be a hearing on the Senate Floor. Four other measures were approved simultaneously and now join the long list of bills Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid may or may not bring to the floor before the end of this Congress at the end of the year.
I left messages at Reid’s office on Friday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday asking specifically about the prospects for the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act, known as the Akaka Bill. So far, no response, and I don’t really expect one. The lame duck session held after the election in November might be singularly focused on budgetary battles.
The Indian Affairs Committee is about to start taking testimony on the matter of “Advancing the Federal-Tribal Relationship through Self-Governance and Self-Determination.” Among those testifying in a few minutes is D. Noelani Kalipi, president of the Hilo-based TiLeaf Group.
— Michael Levine