Indian housing bill OK'd after change
By JIM MYERS World Washington Bureau
Last Modified: 9/28/2008 2:58 AM
WASHINGTON — The U.S. House gave final approval Saturday to an Indian housing bill that was endangered by efforts to punish the Cherokee Nation for trying to bar descendants of former slaves from tribal citizenship.
Approved by a voice vote, the bill now includes a provision that allows the Cherokees to receive housing benefits as long as a tribal court order allowing the so-called freedmen citizenship remains in place pending a final decision.
An earlier version passed by the House last year would have denied benefits to the tribe until it recognized the freedmen descendants as citizens.
Rep. Dan Boren, D-Okla., expressed approval of the amended provision.
"We can all agree that this has been a very contentious issue at times,'' said Boren, whose congressional district is home to the Cherokee Nation and 16 other federally recognized tribes in Oklahoma.
"However, it has always been my belief that we in Congress should let the courts finish their work on this matter before interfering.''
Earlier this year, Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, had warned he would not take the bill back to the floor for final approval without the earlier version of the Cherokee language. Frank also predicted the bill had to have that language to guarantee approval.
(maybe the days of Congressional Extortion by Franks and the Congressional Black Caucus are over! Nice work, Chief Smith! See what congress CAN do - this was done on a voice vote by the way took a few floor comments and a vote and it was done - what maybe 15 minutes - amazing isn't it - Congress takes care of everyone else in the WORLD except it's citizen Indians - it's about time Frank, Congressional Black Caucus and Pelosi wake up and realize their careers are on the short path; boy, I gotta tell you, this housing bill really needs to be at least 1 to 2 billion, if they can bailout wall street with 700 billion, 1 or 2 billion to the Tribes of this country is just a drop in the bucket!)