tv House Hearing on Tribal Communities CSPAN July 15, 2020 3:14pm-5:44pm EDT
coverage begins friday at 10:30 a.m. eastern on c-span. and later this month, william barr appears, on tuesday, july 28th. watch live coverage of the mnuchin hearing friday at 10:30 a.m. eastern. and now, a house energy and commerce committee hearing on federal resources for tribal communities. focusing on disparities such as broadband access, health care, and clean water. this is just under 2 1/2 hours. the committee on energy and commerce will now come to order. today we're holding a hearing entightled addressing the needs
of our native communities. as part of our hearing, microphones will be set on mute. members and witnesses, you will need to unmute your microphone each time you wish to speak. documents can be sent to rebecca at the email address we've provided. and all documents will be entered into the record at the conclusion of the hearing. i recognize myself for five minutes for an opening statement. let me find that, now that i've said that. i believe that today's hearing is long overdue. day after day, our nation's tribal communities are suffering inequality, unequal access to drinking water, energy grid, broadband, and other problems
that have created unnecessary hardship and turmoil. and covid-19 is exacerbating the existing problems now. and the navajo nation has seen rates higher than wuhan, china, during the height of the pandemic. and we've heard repeatedly about the struggles of the native communities to protect against covid-19. as the pandemic rages on, access to ppe and testing and proper sanitation will be critical to flattening the curve for the tribal communities. that's why we're here to listen to representatives of tribal
communities to ensure that government meets its commitments. it's clear that not enough has been accomplished. in the area of health care, they experience greater health disparities compared to other groups, increasing the risk of hospitalizations due to covid-19. the indian health service remains chronically underfunded. they need sufficient and stable resources, which has contributed to outdated infrastructure and medical equipment. the administration has failed to get money to tribal communities swiftly, putting them at a disadvantage at getting what they need in order to respond to covid-19. the moving forward act includes $5 billion for the construction
and renovations of hospitals and outpatient care facilities. i look forward to hearing about what the federal government can do to make sure all tribal communities have access to high-speed internet service. the pandemic has driven home how high-speed internet is essential for everyone. distance learning is the only option for many, and telework is growing. and this brings more connectivity to tribal houses by bringing $80 billion to broadband deployment, and water continues to be a major issue, and tribal households are less likely to have access to indoor plumbing and a safe water supply. $47 billion for a drinking water
program, and $50 million to improve access to energy sources. we want to bring more renewable or other energy production to tribes. i don't have -- i wanted to give half of the time left to both representative ruiz and o'halloran. we'll start with representative ruiz, you have 30 seconds, then we'll give the other to tom. >> thank you, mr. chairman, for holding this hearing. we've been working on tribal issues together for years now, including on the task force, along with our friend on the other side of the aisle. and i'm pleased we're having this critical hearing, and i appreciate your leadership on tribal issues. tribal nations have long
suffered from massive underfunding and a scarcity of resources. and covid-19 only amplifies the disparities that are the result of a lack of funding. that's not to mention the drastic health disparities in indian country. i'm looking forward to discu discussing all those issues. thank you, mr. chairman, i yield back. >> tom, do you want to say something? there's only a few seconds left. i'm sorry. tom sno? maybe he's not on. >> he's on. historically, federal policy has
unacceptably left them behind, and i thank the chairman and all the members of the committee for recognizing the needs of tribal lands. we can do so much more. thank you. >> thank you, tom. and i'm going to now recognize mr. walden for five minutes. but if you want to give an extra 30 seconds to mark, because we gave an extra 30 seconds to tom, greg, it's up to you. greg? >> mr. chairman, i'm going to yield 2 1/2 minutes to me, and 2 1/2 minutes to the representative. >> okay, i recognize mark. >> i left my notes on my phone. >> sure. >> first of all, thank you, chairman, for all the chairs and
ranking members, the committee for listening to my concerns. i think this is the first time in my time, definitely, on the committee that we've had a full committee hearing on native american issues. and native americans deserve quality health care, as promised by the federal government. as a cherokee, i grew up going to tribally run hospitals. in hastings is where i received my health care. i understand how important operating the facilities are to tribal members. the last congress, i was fortunate enough to co-hair the ihs task force, leading to several key areas we can improve health care to 2.2 million native americans. ihs is not only terribly
underfunded, we have to fix that. ihs must also be modernized. there's so much going on in indian country that applies to this committee, and we need to take a deeper dive. i want to thank you for holding this hearing. i urge my committee to continue this process with additional hearings on health and oversight and investigation committees. with that, i yield to the gentleman from montana. >> i want to thank the gentleman from oklahoma for yielding. i appreciate his leadership on the task force last congress, well done. i've long asked that we hear from indian country, and i'm glad we're having this hearing today. native americans make up nearly 7% of montana's population, and
more than 2% of the u.s. population. i was proud to pass legislation restoring federal recognition to the tribe of the cree last year. federally recognized tribes enjoy a nation to nation relationship with the u.s. government. this allows tribes to access critical resources for economic development, health care, and education, and regulate affairs on tribal lands. these resources often come with complicated federal procedures. we need to increase opportunity for these communities. during the covid-19 pandemic, americans rely on broadband connection, it's essential for business, education, and telemedicine. many tribal lands are among the places that lack adequate broadband access.
each tribe has unique challenges for deployment. last month, i introduced legislation that will help streamline reviews, helping close the digital device. additionally, the fcc offered tribes early access to the 2.5 gigahertz band. key to this is energy. many tribal nations are rich in resources. in montana, the crow tribe produces coal and faces challenges exporting it. one of our witnesses today, the
chairman sage, his tribe is involved in gas production, they're economic drivers and fund investments and other businesses for the tribes. not all tribal lands have those types of resources and services developed and are readily available. still, many have issues with access to electricity and safe drinking water. i look forward to this important discussion today. thank you, and i yield back. >> chairman, you're on mute. >> okay. so i just want to remind everyone that pursuant to
committee rules, all written statements will be put into the record. and now, we're going to go into the witnesses for our hearing. i wanted to recognize mr. o'halloran with our first witness. tom? is tom there? can you guys hear me? >> i can hear you, mr. chairman. not sure what happened with tom. >> is mr. o'halloran -- i don't see his picture. maybe you need to unmute, tom. but i don't see your picture, either. there he is. >> thank you, mr. chairman. he has served as the leader of
the navajo nation, and is now a committed public servant of the navajo people. he fully understands the scope of the challenges facing the navajo nation in indian country. but the realities of life in the navajo nation is harsh. and in many places, as you indicated earlier, there's a lack of water, electricity, and the basic needs of life. we need to live up to the treaty obligations the federal government has. >> and we're also going to hear from the honorable christine sage, chair of the southern ute indian tribe. and lauren sharp, testifying today as the president of the
national congress of american indians. and then i'd like to introduce now mark wayne mullen to introduce dr. charles grimm, if you would. >> i'm really honored to introduce this fellow cherokee. he's an accomplished health care professional, and as i said, he's a fellow cherokee. dr. charles grimm, he spent years leading the health services for the cherokee nation. he's also a retired assistant surgeon general, and rear admiral in the commissioned core of the u.s. public health services. he's a native doctor, who has dedicated his life to serving indian country.
i'm very proud to have him here, dr. grimm, thank you so much for being here today. >> thank you. and our last witness, a partner in -- it says quarles and brady. president nez, you're recognized for five minutes for your statement. thank you. >> thank you. thank you, my friend tom, for that introduction. my name is jonathan nez. i am the president of the navajo nation. and the vice president and i greet you today. we appreciate this opportunity to testify before the full
committee today to address urgent needs facing the navajo nation. and many of these same issues are being affected by the 573 other tribes throughout the country. the navajo nation is going through some tough times right now as the chairman mentioned. and i appreciate the prayers and support that we've been given by our congressional delegation and congress, thank you so much. today i'm going to be talking about water, electricity, and broadband infrastructure. this committee oversees many other jurisdictions throughout the united states. and for the five minutes, i think water, electricity, and broadband will be our focus. but before i begin those
comments, i want to start with a covid-19 update on the navajo nation. as of yesterday, july 7th, 5:00 p.m., there are a total of 7,941 confirmed covid-19 positive cases. we are also tracking the recovery numbers. 5,650 have recovered. we have lost 379 of our relatives here on the navajo nation. please hold them in prayer. we have tested over 60,000 individuals since this crisis entered our borders. we have been testing very aggressively. and this shows that 29.4% of our total population have been tested. for almost two months, we saw
the highest per capita covid infection rate in the u.s. but right now, per capita, we are testing more of our citizens than any other state or any, matter of fact, any country. many of the countries throughout the world. as a result of the chronic underfunding of indian programs which was mentioned earlier, tribes were not equipped with resources to respond to covid-19. for example, c.a.r.e.s. funding did not fully reach the navajo nation until three months after congress intended. again, i deeply appreciate the committee for convening this hearing today to shed light on these matters. and for hearing our most urgent needs. in terms of water, there is no greater need on the navajo nation than clean drinking water. more than 40% of the navajo
nation households do not have running water. access to safe drinking water, and sanitation facilities are an extension of primary health care delivery. legislation, hr 756, is a great step toward providing safe drinking water to our navajo people. and the navajo utah water rights act, under this bill the navajo nation will receive approximately $228 million in federal and state funding for desperately needed drinking water infrastructure. further delaying the passage of senate 886 will deny clean drinking water to the navajo people. we've waited decades for it, and
it's one vote away from becoming a reality. therefore i request that senate bill 886 be passed immediately. roughly 10,000 homes lack electricity. red tape is as much to blame as funding. it takes anywhere from one to two years to get the necessary approvals. we urge congress and federal agencies to review the laws that impede infrastructure projects. roughly 60% of our population lack broadband access. this is unacceptable. the broadband limitations for navajo residents is due to the current broadband infratrustru e infrastructure. there are approximately 1,000
towers on navajo property. in new jersey, it has 1,300 communication towers. in conclusion, the navajo nation seeks to strengthen the sacred trust relationship between our two governments. working together, we can close the divide, expand excess to water, health needs and other things. and the impact of climate change, and other concerns such as air quality and uranium mine remediation. thank you for the opportunity to testify before you today, and i'm prepared to answer any questions you may have. and thank you, chairman and members of the committee. >> thank you, president nez. and thank you for outlining those urgent needs, which is
obviously the main focus of our hearing today. next, we have chairman sage, chairman of the southern ute indian tribe. you're recognized for five minutes. we can hear you. go ahead. >> okay. good morning, i'm christine sage, chairman of the southern ute indian tribe. thank you for inviting me to testify. it's an honor to speak with you this morning about the effects of the coronavirus on the southern ute indian tribe. they depend on the success of the federal policy of self-determination for tribal nations. that policy is 50 years ago
today. we acted quickly to protect all of the tribal members, elders, and others who are at risk. today the reservation is -- but the pandemic has highlighted weaknesses in the relationship between the tribe and the federal government. recent legislation was supposed to benefit tribes during this crisis, but it's failed to consider the unique circumstances of tribal government. the ppe dp did not fully take tribes into consideration. this means that multiple tribal businesses may be operating under a single -- it deniied
applications for businesses when a loan has been approved for another business under the same indication. tribal businesses are forced to choose only one of their eligible businesses. there's no reason to allow each location of a restaurant, but not each individual tribal business. we need to allow each to be eligible for a loan. the c.a.r.e.s. act allocated $8 billion tribes. we need to address the needs of indian country, but the full disbursement of the funds was delayed up to two months. confidential data provided to treasure by tribes was leaked to
the public. the guidance on the use of the funds comes from treasury. and once again, it's apparent that it does not understand how tribal governments operate. tribes are not permitted to use the funds to continue to pay employees who are unable to work due to the coronavirus. but states may use the funds to pay those same employees unemployment compensation. and it's difficult to put funds to good use without risk of an audit. moving forward, treasury needs to genuinely consult with tribal government. and the oil and gas industry, it's vital to the economy in much of indian country. we must use this opportunity to revitalize tribal energy
programs and prepare for the future. the energy policy act of 2005 authorized the department of energy to establish the tribal energy loan guarantee program, which is seriously underfunded. funds must be appropriated and used for projects that employ renewable energy technology. the tribe requests that the guarantee be increased to 100% for projects on tribal land. finally, the pandemic has
highlighted the weaknesses in communication and high-speed internet technology in indian country. many tribes are in remote areas where broadband infrastructure is weak or noniexistent. 50 years ago, when the federal government embarked on this era of self-determination, congress was able to look at the mistakes of the past and assist in self-determination. likewise, we can look at the weaknesses of the past few months, and learn from them, and correct them. thank you for your time.
>> chairman, you're on mute. >> i'm sorry. i keep forgetting they turn it off automatically. i wanted to thank the chairwoman sage, who just spoke. now i want to go to president sharp, the president of the tribe, but she's also testifying today on behalf of ncai. so president, you're now recognized for five minutes. >> good morning, on behalf of the national congress of american indians, thank you.
like all governments, tribal nations strive to ensure the well-being of our communities through essential government services, funded by the trust responsibility of the united states. this has been chronically and for a long time been underfunded, as was documented in the u.s. commission on civil rights report that was recently released to congress last year. this details and concludes not one federal agency is living up to its responsibility in every sector affecting our lives and communities. there's a widespread and chronic underfunding, leading to our vulnerability of our communities. both in terms of infection rates and rates of death. we need an increase to the coronavirus relief fund. we've heard there's a belief
that tribes don't need additional funding. which creates a real problem. treasury has set a timeline of july 17th to report back the use of funds. and there's a real concern that there will be a distortion within indian country. it's been nearly three months since the dollars were appropriated by congress, and we're just starting to see the remaining balance from the fund. 60% was released, we had to go through litigation. we're at the point where we're among the most vulnerable, and we still don't have the funding that congress appropriated three months ago. i want to make it clear, we do need additional dollars. and we need to respond to some
of the structure barriers within treasury. i want to focus on a few points. i want to speak directly to health care. we must secure stable funding. we experience the greatest health disteparities in the unid states, and tribal programs are funded by the trust responsibility. since 1998, only once has the interior environment bill been enacted before the fiscal year. to address this instability, congress must pass legislation authorizing advance appropriatio appropriations. additionally, stable funding is needed in the special diabetes program for indians. we have disproportionate
incidence of diabetes, and we've saved medicare $52 million per year. despite this success, it's been flat funded at $150 million since 2004. and short reauthorizations have impaired programs at the expense of patients. congress must support long term reauthorization and stable funding. i'd like to shift to the topic of climate change and clean water. due to these impacts, tribal nations are key partners in the national and global response to climate change. congress should pass legislation that includes full and meaningful consultation with managers, and to ensure there's government parity in climate action by including tribal nations in federally funded
responses to the climate crisis. in addition to climate change, communities experience environmental disparities involving lack of access to safe and clean drinking water. while we appreciate hr 2's increases to funds, we need to address the severe water access needs of tribal communities. we also encourage congress to increase tribal access and development. tribal nations encounter many energy barriers, including financing challenges. there is funding available for developing energy infrastructure on tribal lands. recently, hr 2 increased funding, we appreciate that, and we look to remove the matching
requirements. furth furthermore, removal of restrictions is needed to enable tribal access. the loan guarantee program was authorized in the energy policy act of 2005, and not funded until 2017, and hasn't financed any projects. this was due to the eligibility projects. removing these restrictions would allow applicants to start sustainable businesses. and i want to speak to the issue of telecommunications accessibility. -- which closes on august 3rd, 2020. a spectrum license -- enhances
broad band and global coverage, and supports immediate development. presently, tribal nations are responding to tpw aid tpw aids long-term structure. an extension has been requested until january of 2021. further, fcc has created classes of tribal nation in its spectrum and other proceedings which is a violation of its trust responsibility and further connectivity challenges by providing checkerboard coverage. to address these issues, we urge congress to extend the deadline and ensure the fcc makes all tribal lands eligible for this opportunity. i thank you for the opportunity to testify and i look forward to answering any questions.
>> thank you, president sharp. and thanks for all that ncia does on a regular basis to inform us as members of congress of what needs to be done and what are the priorities for indian country. we really rely on you. i want to turn to dr. grim. you're recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, chairman. good morning ranking member walden, members of the committee. we want to let you know that indian country truly appreciates you holding this important hearing on addressing the urgent needs of your tribal communities. i want to thank the representative for that kind introduction. my name is dr. charles grim and i'm the secretary of health for the chickasaw nation. the mission of the chickasaw nation is to enhance the overall quality of life for the chickasaw people. in 1994, we entered into a compact to become a health care system. we serve over 90,000 patients
through a hospital and three outpatient facilities with a staff of 1,700. this committee knows that the health care for american indians comes from a system that is separate from that of mainstream america. the iah is the federal agencies with the federal responsibility in fulfilling the trust obligation. today, acting under the broad authorization of the snider act, congress appropriates funds to ihs. the cost of care during the covid-19 pandemic and added financial burden has overwhelmed an underfunded health care system. the health care system had a 25% vacancy rate and a hospital systems that remains over four times older than the national hospital system. limited capacity has restrained referred care dollars. while the cdc has noted that handwashing is one of the chief
measures against covid-19 infection, approximately 6% of american indian lack access to running water. before covid-19, the indian health system faced significant funding disparities when compared to other federal health care programs. but now covid-19 has greatly impacted the finances of many health care programs. workload comparisons for the chickasaw nation show a decrease of approximately 46% and our third-party revenue has decreased $25 million. we appreciate all that's been done in the current packages to make sure that funds have been available for american indian country. chickasaw nation governor declared a state of emergency on march 17, 2020. within the span of less than two
weeks, the majority of in-person visits were converted to virtual visits. a patient screening process was introduced at all of our facilities. a call center was introduced to triage patients and employees. a clinic was developed to help seek persons with systems and testing tents were set up throughout the chickasaw nation. we've tested over 25,000 american indian as well as nonnative community members and employees. we also stood up our command team and integrated with local, state and national entities, ihs, cdc, fema and dod emergency operations. because of the swift action and declaration by the governor to close all nonessential businesses and offices in the chickasaw nation, we have a low positive prevalence rate with approximately 400 positive cases today. i would ask the committee to consider the following funding priorities which would help
indian country address some of our needs. 9.1 billion in funding for ihs is recommended by the tribal budget formulation work group because of the lack of a timely enacted budget will leave us all unprepared for another wave of covid-19 infections. we asked for approximately $2 billion to fully fund the remaining projects on the grandfathered health care facility construction priority list. also, the ihs joint venture program is one of the most successful and cost effective means of providing new and replacement facilities. the ihs director selection of five projects for fewer expanded health care facilities through that program and the chickasaw nation was one of those selected. since that time, the economy's taken a sharp downturn. we respectfully ask congress to consider funding construction of these five critical health care facilities. we ask you to consider package of senate bill 3927, special
diabetes program 2019 with slight changes to the new delivery of funds language that would ensure tribes and tribal organizations are able to receive awards through their self-determination and government contracts and compacts. we ask for $1 billion for water and sanitation development across ihs and tribal facilities which is needed to ensure access to safe drinking water and waste systems. the chickasaw nation alone has over $70 million in such need. we ask also for $3 billion for health information technology to address the disease surveillance and reporting and transition to a telehealth delivery system and to allow tribes to convert to a new electronic health record. we ask for 50 million for newer expanding tribal medical residency programs which will help tribes meet the challenges
of physician shortage and funds to deploy broadband construction projects. members of the committee, i appreciate the opportunity to testify on these important matters today. the chickasaw nation is committed to ensuring the highest quality of health care for our citizens and we look forward to working with you on each of these endeavors. thank you. >> thank you, dr. grim, and thank you for those important suggestions. our last witness is ms. thomas. you're recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, chairman pallone. can you hear me? >> yes. >> thank you. good morning, members of the committee. i'm a partner in law enforcement where i specialize on working with tribes. thank you for the opportunity to provide my views on indian
renewable energy and including tribal energy needs in this very important hearing. i'm encouraged that the house and this committee recognize the importance of renewable energy, energy efficiency and workforce development for indian tribes and the role that tribes should play in the nation's clean energy future. as we heard from president nez, chairwoman sage and president sharp, access and funding for affordable and reliable electricity is critical for infrastructure development in indian country. for many tribes, the broken nexus between energy, water, food and economic development has been laid bear in the midst of this covid-19 crisis. legislative and funding priorities for tribal energy development should seek to accomplish several goals including but certainly not limited to mitigating economic harm from covid-19 by reducing
energy costs for tribal communities, jump starting economic development through increased capital and investment in tribal utility and energy development efforts, creating jobs, supporting tribal energy self-sufficiency and reliability and recognizing authorities over energy development on indian lands. to accomplish these goals, i would like to highlight a handful of opportunities for tribes that congress can support and should incentivize. tribes can partner with corporations, for example, for renewable energy procurement. this will support commercial-scale development bringing revenue and jobs and can be leveraged to attract businesses and jobs to locate on tribal lands. mass deployment of community solar, distributed energy, storage, energy efficiency and
microgrids will lead to energy cost savings, job creation, energy reliability and resiliency. and tribal energy utility formation gives tribes the ability to control their energy costs, their energy resources, create jobs, and keep revenue within the tribe. unfortunately, there's still have many major barriers to tribal energy development. some of these barriers are structural but can be overcome. others legal and can be overturned and still others are physical and financial. given enough time and money can be resolved. one barer is regulatory action. tribal energy development is depend on state electricity policy and regular tear regimes through the state's jurisdiction over and regulation of utility companies that serve tribal lands. if tribes wanted to develop and use their own energy resources, they have to comply with state
policies and regulations. tribal energy policy is cabined by state energy policy. another major barrier and lack of transmission and distribution infrastructure. grid modernization is expensive but necessary to improve grid performance, to integrate renewable energy and storage and to improve grid resiliency for tribal communities. access to the wholesale markets through the middle grid and the capital necessary to build it is also necessary for tribes to be able to access wholesale markets for electricity purchases or to sell power into the market. and a third barrier is lack of private capital investment. federal funding is important but it's simply not enough. there's been little to no private sector investment in tribal renewable energy projects that serve tribes have lagged
behind other governments in attracting outside capital through public-private partnerships. while i have more detailed legislative proposals in my written testimony, let me highlight two examples. for example, congress should amend the federal power act to treat tribes as states under those two statutes. this would confirm tribal regulatory authority and jurisdiction over retail and distribution utilities serving tribal lands. it has the benefit of making tribes nonjurisdictional entities. a second no-cost solution is to amend the tribal energy loan guarantee program. expanding eligibility in terms of the types of projects that are eligible. authorize direct loans and reduce barriers to applying for
and qualifying for guarantees and loans. in short, covid has exposed some of the energy and environmental injustices in indian country. it has had devastating public health and economic impacts. but there is hope for renewable energy and energy efficiency deployment to lead the way out. there are considerable opportunities tribes can pursue as economic recovery efforts in the short and long term. it requires though that major barriers are addressed by federal policy, law and funding. thank you again and i look forward to your questions. >> thank you, ms. thomas, for that information on the electricity grid and renewables. it's very important for what our committee is looking into. now we -- now we're going to go -- that concludes our opening. we'll go to member questions. and each member will have five minutes to ask questions of our witnesses and i'll start by
recognizing myself. obviously, there's so many things that i would like to ask. i'm going to focus on the digital divide for the most part because it's so stark on tribal lands. you know, given what's happening with covid, the lack of reliable high speed internet means you're left out of health care services, education, employment opportunities, civic engagement and it's just unacceptable in my opinion. let me start with president nez. i'm concerned that the lack of connectivity will put disadvantaged children further behind in their education. in the moving forward act, we allocated $5 billion through the fcc's program for schools and libraries to provide wi-fi hot spots and other connected devices to families who don't have internet access and it has a specific guarantee of funding for tribal schools and libraries. let me ask you initially, if that became law, would schools
and families benefit, if you would? >> thank you for the question, chairman and members of the committee. absolutely. the navajo students, people would benefit on getting high-speed internet access locally. but our goal here on the navajo nation is to reach more into the rural areas into the house. with this covid-19 right now, chairman and members of the committee, we are encouraging our navajo people to shelter in place. we have stay-at-home orders. so if people are staying home and they don't have internet connectivity, they will have to go to these libraries or chapter houses to get internet access which may, you know, get them exposed to the virus. so there's so much uncertainty
here, we all know. there's no vaccine, no cure for covid-19. and so our focus here on the navajo nation is try to get high-speed internet into the homes where students could connect to their schools and turn in their homework. also telehealth as well as -- we're in a closure right now. the navajo nation is closed. a lot of your employees are working from home and it's all based on how much moneys or how much resources could be allocated to get high-speed internet closer to the home. and lastly, i appreciate what was mentioned by ms. thomas. we've been talking about funding. we've been talking about projects. but what we really should be focusing our attention onto get these projects done quickly is to re-evaluate federal laws, policies and regulations.
those are those no-cost changes that occur so projects can get done completely -- quickly and complete. with the c.a.r.e.s. act funding, the deadline is december 31st. we didn't get the first allocation of the c.a.r.e.s. act fund -- tribes throughout the country didn't get that until three months ago. and three weeks ago, we finally goat that 40% of the c.a.r.e.s. act funding. and so i'm asking the chairman and members of this committee to lead the charge in putting into legislation an extension of the c.a.r.e.s. act funding for tribes, maybe a full year to december 31st of 2021 and many of you know that projects don't move as quickly in india country a -- indian country and that will
give us some time. >> thank you. i have a minute left. let me ask the chairwoman sage, again, in the moving forward act, we have $80 billion to fund high-speed broadband deployment to underserved areas, preference for tribal lands. do you think that that broadband deployment is contemplated by the moving forward act? would that help the tribe and what kind of broadband investment would help, if not? i only have about 30 seconds left here. as quickly as you can. >> okay. well, yes, the tribe would support that. it's clear that funding is really needed for broadband deployment for our communities who need it most. we're glad this issue is receiving attention and effort. for example, senator bennett from colorado recently introduced in the bridge act which would include $1 billion
for tribes for broadband deployment. thank you. >> thank you, chairwoman. now, is greg on this or am i going to go to fred? is ranking member -- i'm going to fred. okay. i recognize the gentleman from michigan for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman and i appreciate the hearing. i have a couple of questions. i want to congratulate you, first, though, on your primary win last night. i'm glad that you're resting conformably after your landslide victory. i would just like to say, as we look at the $8 billion that was in the c.a.r.e.s. act, treasury had 30 days to disburse the money. because of the delays in getting money to the tribes involving litigation we have real issues trying to follow the guidance regulations that were provided
by the treasury. treasury is requesting all of the recipients of c.a.r.e.s. to submit what they've spent the money on so far. i know it's somewhat unique here in terms of what's happening. but can you expand on how you're all going to comply with that and what we might want to do to try and help? president sharp first and, again, i'm watching the clock. i want to make sure that the questions -- >> thank you so much. you're right, there was a deadline of april 26th to get this funding out of tribal nations. that was not met. and i would like to just provide a little bit of context to why this is such an urgent need. tribal nations are limited in taxing authority. so we -- instead of being able to generate revenues like any other government through a system of taxation, we're forced to generate profits in commercial enterprises. because of the pandemic, our
economies have been suffering. so we need the additional dollars in the relief fund. not only is there a delay in the trust responsibility necessary resources of that relief, we cannot spend money to back build lost revenue from our economies, our commercial enterprises. treasury has said we cannot use these funds for business losses. in other words, in loss of any sort of revenue through taxation and business. that is crippling us. not only are we vulnerable because we don't have economic relief, any opportunity we have to access resources through the national stockpile and other things are limited. so like chairman frazier, we have no choice to stand at the border and protect our nations. we don't have resources, we don't have access to ppe and we're suffering. we need to have increases and we need to make sure that treasury
appropriates and distributes these dollars the way congress intended. >> thank you. chairman sage, you did mention in your -- thanks for submitting your testimony in advanced. you mentioned that the oil and gas industry has been in your words ignored during the crisis. what effect has the oil market crash had on your tribe and your ability to invest in the regional economy and workforce? you mentioned that in the southwest colorado, all of your employees, mostly nontribal members, are receiving full pay. how important is that fossil energy, especially natural gas, to your economy and what role do you see it playing in the years ahead? >> thank you for that question. the price collapse for oil and gas have caused us real problem. the virus only made them worse. many of your producers are shutting in and we're actively seeking relief that our producers don't just give up and leave and abandon active wells.
the price collapse for oil and gas has been challenging and the virus has amplified those challenges. many of our producers -- and we're seeking relief for our producers to continue producing through this pandemic sustaining the local economy and preventing orphaned well ores. they have not laid off any tribal employees at the expense of risk of the tribal economy. thank you for that question. >> thank you. so since you do have energy in your backyard, how do you strike the right balance between the environment and the -- able to conserve scarce resources like water? chairman sage? >> what was that again?
>> since you have energy production right there in southwest colorado, how is it that you're able to strike the right balance as we know all the colorado water issues that are there, between protecting the environment and scarce resources like water? >> well, with the water and the economy, really we have a lot of our water -- our water is irrigation water for our farmers and ranchers. and this is really put a damper on it. because if we have a failing irrigation system. it's taken a lot of the economy away from our farmers and ranchers. >> okay. i know my time is expired. i yield back, mr. chairman.
>> i'm sorry. next we have bobby rush is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman, for holding today's important meeting. i want to thank our witnesses for sharing their insights. the coronavirus pandemic continues to shine a harsh light on the disparities that exist within our nation's most vulnerable communities. including the long-standing tribal communities, tribal nations among others who have
limited access to physical infrastructure, reliable electricity, and a workforce training need to support these critical resources. you were a senior member of the indian energy policy office. how are communities by this office and what improvements should we make to the administration? >> thank you very much, congressman. yes, i was -- i formally served as both the deputy director and acting director of the office of indian energy policy and programs in the department of energy in the second term of the obama administration. one of biggest challenges that that office had, we stood it up from scratch basically and one
of the biggest challenges that the office had was a lack of administrative infrastructure and our primary focus was to put together programs that would directly help tribal governments and tribal enterprises, including tribal leadership and tribal staff, with building capacity to help them understand and develop their energy resources. we had an all of the above energy policy and so our focus was to use not only the offices resources which were very limited at the time, $2 million i think was the budget that we had, 5 million had just been operated. congress has been kind to the office and substantially increased its appropriation now. i think the house interior -- i'm sorry, house energy appropriation just increased that to 22 million. and those resources are greatly needed. those resources tend to be split
between technical assistance for tribes and other capacity-building efforts and deployment grants for tribes. there is a bit of a challenge now, though, as tribes get more sophisticated and try and do more projects with the department being able to keep up with them and the resources necessary for the department to keep up with them. so the more funding that congress can provide to that office to help with technical assistance, to help with capacity building, 575 tribes, plus 200-plus alaska native corporations and countless other enterprises which are all covered by the office is a lot of constituency. so i do think that there's a lot of benefit to continuing to fund that office at a robust amount so that it can continue to do some of that soft-touch work like technical assistance and capacity building that's
necessary to keep moving energy development forward on tribal lands. >> thank you. and, mr. chairman, i see that my time is almost expired. i yield back the balance of my time. >> thank you, thank you, mr. rush. next we're going to go to the gentleman from illinois, recognized for five minutes. i can't hear you, john. are you on mute? can the rest -- >> i'm sorry. i thought they were unmuting us from your end also. let me thank you all.
it's too much. we should have one on health, we should have one on telecommunications, one on energy because there's obviously so much in our jurisdiction. i'm going to boil it down to three quick questions. one is just an observation, chairman. we have this ndaa bill coming up which the authorizers are trying to steal our jurisdiction under the ruling. if i've heard anything from the testimony today is that broadband internet access is critical. and if we allow them to interfere with the ability of this satellite broadband, this will not provide our tribal entities an ability to get connected, either their health care or energy or educational issues. i would hope that we would develop a bipartisan strategy for the floor to offer an
amendment to strip -- i think in the hask bill, two amendments were passed by our good friend mike turner that will hurt this ability. and it was passed by the fcc unanimously which doesn't happen very much. soy put th so i put that on the table. i would like to go back to ms. thomas. easing regulatory burden on energy resources is something that we talked about numerous times. and i'm surprised that nations don't have their ability to control their own destiny in energy development. in rural america we have a electric co-ops that are not for profit entities. are you asking for something like that in that ability to create some energy independence
from -- for indian nations? >> thank you, congressman. in about 16 states rural electric co-ops are not regulated by the state utility commissions. and the rest of the states they are. in arizona, for example, our arizona corporation commission does regulate the rural electric co-ops from a rate-making standpoint, tariffs, reliability. they're subject to the state's renewable energy standard. in 16 states, the states don't exercise jurisdiction. so the co-ops like public power companies, like lawp, get their own rates. they're member owned and driven. so the idea is that the members would help control what the co-op does. there is some friction admittedly between tribes who are trying to do -- especially distributed energy and co-ops who have limits on the amount of
renewable energy they can put into the system. it's a complicated story, back story, because the gnts play a role in that, but there is a challenge. there's one tribe, for example, that does have a utility regulatory scheme that it imposes on its co-op. and so if tribes in co-ops that aren't regulated by the state do want to do more renewable energy, do want to interconnect community solar, going through a state regulatory scheme can be problematic -- >> yeah, that's helpful. let me get to president nez real quick because i'm from southern illinois. it's a coal basin area. what happens if and when your coal-fired power plant is goes
offline? what happens to the economy, the employees, to all the folks in that line of work? president nez. >> sorry. i was on mute. thank you for the question and members of the committee and chairman. you know, we already are going through closure of a generating station, two, actually, one on our lands, the navajo generating station. the closure of that facility affect affected the coal mine operation and that had to close because that's where the coal was going to the coal-fired power plant. between the two there, 30 to $50 million of revenue coming into the navajo nation is now gone. and so we have to supplement that. and in order for us to bring in new moneys, we're looking at,
you know, extending broadband and to have other businesses flourish here on our navajo nation to bring in that 30 to $50 million loss. thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i yield back. >> thank you, john. next we have ms. eshoo. >> thank you. congratulations on your win last night and i want to thank all of the witnesses. you've given superb testimony. what i'm so -- is that in all of the basics of life whether it's clean water, electricity, connectivity relative to broadband, health care, there really is a national shame that surrounds what has -- is taking place and i think really true
neglect for native americans. so there has to be the political will to get these things done. these are not issues that we don't know how to address. it's a matter of political will. so thank you for your testimony and there's -- to me, an enormous sadness that surrounds all of this. let me start by asking dr. grim and jonathan nez and christine sage, have your tribes been able to get adequate ppe, testing supplies and other resources like ventilators and drugs to treat covid-19 cases in your communities in one of the challenges is getting adequate supplies and it seems to me that there's confusion regarding how indian health programs can access the strategic national stockpile.
so have tribes been able to access the strategic national stockpile? any one of you can address that. >> thank you. this is jonathan nez. thank you, representative, in terms of your question. the navajo nation did get some supplies from the strategic national stockpile, but it took sometime before that resource came to the nation. and when that also came to the nation, we also noticed that some of the items and those supplies were outdated. but we did have to use what we were given because of the shortage throughout the country, of course. that first spike, there was just so many governments and out there -- out there and municipalities wanting to get ppes and so tribes were left
bidding on this finite resource out there and tribes, most of the time, tribes were on the back burner. and states like new york were getting most of the supplies. we're hopeful that the other industries out there will be supplying more ppes and maybe it's time for tribes to develop their own stockpile. >> what clarification do you think is necessary to allow tribes to be able to access the stockpile? >> i think there needs to be clarity in direct access. it's very clear to us early in the pandemic that those outside of the united states, the world health organization, the imf, the world bank all understand the vulnerability to indigenous populations. and there's been a call out for
global action to address the desperate needs among indigenous communities because everyone recognizes our vulnerability. to the extent there's a recovery plan for building economies, i think there's an appetite to work to safeguard our economies. we also saw the world health organization called for private sector partnerships with the u.n. foundation and the swiss philanthropy fund. to the extent this pandemic exceeds the scale of resources, we know there's a global strategy to prop up national economies. we know there's a -- >> thank you -- >> so that's what we need. we need resources. >> i appreciate your answer. very quickly, in the california area of the indian health service, the last ihs hospital closed its doors over five decades ago. so my constituents and tribes in
my area rely on the california tribal health program which receives very limited annual funding from ihs. to dr. grim, how are areas like mine with no ihs hospitals and a reliance on tribal health programs treated differently in funding allocations? >> one of the things i was going to say, congresswoman, was that ihs has a whole doesn't have that much in the way of intensive care units. there are a number of areas across the ihs that have zero hospitals. and those that do have it, have relatively small number of icu beds. our hospital has six beds. six icu beds. they happen to all be full today. and so we are at capacity on icu. early on, we tried to get, you know, resources such as testing
materials, testing machines, other things like that and a lot of times -- and ventilators too. somebody would say yes and turn it around and pull it back because it needed to go to a higher priority. what those places have to do that don't have those resources, they have to relied on the deferred care dollars. they are absolutely at the mercy of that to send somebody off to a hospital that has that sort of capacity. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and i yield back. >> thank you. next we go to mike burgess. >> did i successfully unmute? >> you did. >> i cannot see the clock, chairman, so you're going to trust your kind nature to let me know about time. you generally do. this is a great hearing. the landscape is broad and i
agree, there is -- i hope this isn't just a check the box hearing. i do hope that we can come back in the various subcommittees where the jurisdiction is a little more focused and drill down on some of these issues because the communities that are served, these issues are clearly so critical and it is hard to distill it all down with one single broad panel. and, mr. chairman, just a point you were talking at the beginning of this, when was the last time we had a hearing on indian health service. i recall a subcommittee of health hearing, but it was so long ago, that nathan deal was the chairman of the subcommittee and sherrod brown was the ranking member. we were due. i'm glad you organized it today. dr. grim, i want to thank you, first off, for your service and
thank you for providing such clear testimony. one of the things in preparation for this reviewing the -- there was a report up, the office of inspector general, on the -- on the indian health service and the title was monitoring needed and one of their suggestions in there is the -- that the senate for medicare and medicaid services assist the indian health service with more frequent surveys. so can i just ask you, and i apologize for not knowing this but in a non-ihs hospital, i know it's voluntary, but they have a joint agreement with hospitals to be surveyed at least every three years.
is there a similar joint commission survey that happens in ihs hospitals. >> yes, sir. and the three years is the normal standard surveys. i have often thought, you know, with cms being a center agency of the indian service, if they worked together closer when there were problems like that, i thought it would be a great service. they have worked closely with ihs during this time where some of the hospitals now have had some issues that are being rectified now. some of them have already been rectified. but, yes, i think, you know, more frequent surveys would help. and then the other thing, a lot of the ihs regions put together survey teams and so they will go out and survey their own facilities on a much more regular basis than every three years.
>> and i was on the board of a hospital -- community hospital. i'm a physician as well. it was not a good day when the senate for medicare and medicaid services came in and surveyed your hospital. generally there was some sort of problem that had occurred. so it was -- that was actually not looked upon as a good thing. i suspect that -- if there was a problem, it needed to be corrected. but you do go through the standard three-year credit additi -- cr creditation. indian health service also has the ability to query the database? >> let me say i cringed a little bit when i said cms should come
in a little more often. ihs has criteria, as do all the tribes. and one of the requirements is to query the national practitioner database. >> it's also a two-way street. reported back to the national database if a problem is identified with a physician's practice, is that correct? >> yes, sir. that's true. but there's a process within the agency that you follow to get that done and it's been a few years since i've been there. but basically it rises up through, you know, the region, from the facility to the region, to ihs headquarters where things are reviewed if there's been a potential violation, you know, or a tort and then a decision is made whether it was the standard -- the standard of care was met or the standard of care was not met. the agency has a process to do that and tribes do the same as
well. >> so the quality assurance is very similar to a non-ihs hospital. do i understand that correctly? >> yes, sir, you do. >> and then let -- let me ask you this. has there been some success in the va system with the va mission act and you described your icu with six beds. if you have a patient who requires ventilation assistance, do you have the ability -- do you contract with another facility to transfer that patient? how is the care for that patient handled when you're at capacity? >> most of the facilities out there, including ours, have -- i'll call them preferred provider networks. they're not always called that. but you establish relationships with entities that you use frequently and trust. you have contracts with them. and so most locations have a
primary hospital or two or three that they refer to whenever they cannot provide that care locally or they're at capacity. there are some places within the indian health service, however, that it's two hours or more to the nearest hospital. there are those challenges as well. most everyone has that. but i mentioned earlier in one of my comments, the referred care dollars, you know, those aren't unlimited either. if you have to refer too many things out, you know, a lot of tribes will run out of that before the year is out. >> okay. >> you're a minute and a half over. >> i told you, i couldn't see the clock, chairman. i was depending upon your kindness. >> i have some additional questions about energy issues. i'll submit those for the record. thank you, everyone, for being here this morning. >> thank you, mike. next is the gentlewoman from colorado. >> thank you so much mr.
chairman, and i want to thank you all of the witnesses for attending today. i want to give a special welcome to christine sage down in my home state of colorado. i've worked a lot with you and i'm glad to see you today. hope you're staying cool, because we're having a really bad heat wave up here in denver. i would like to talk about some of the health issues that are unique to tribal lands and the first thing i want to talk about is i want to talk about the covid-19. mr. nez, you talked -- you very thankfully gave us an update about what's going on in navajo lands with covid. but i think -- you know, i'm the co-chair of the diabetes caucus in congress and i think one of the reasons why -- why tribal issues and covid are so extreme
is because -- is because non-hispanic adults, in particular native americans, are 2.5 times more likely to die from diabetes and i know that diabetes is a big impact on your community. and i'm wondering if you can talk about how you think it's impacted the terrible coronavirus that we've had on navajo lands and other tribal areas. >> chairman, members of the committee, and representative deget, thank you for that question, ma'am. we have heard the vulnerable population and the elders. the data that i cited earlier in the testimony is that of those
300-plus deaths here on the navajo nation, 379 deaths, 66% of those who have passed from covid-19 are over 60 years old. and those are our elderlies. and our elderlies are vulnerable -- in that vulnerable population because, you know, they're immune system is not strong. but many of them are, as you are saying are in -- have diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancers. and so 1 out of 5 native americans do have diabetes. and we here on navajo are starting to focus more on, you know, our health and well-being, meaning that we should be bringing some of those individuals out of that vulnerable population category so that they have strong immune systems. i talked earlier about, you know, being in a food desert.
we need to get healthier foods to our native american citizens so that their bodies can fight off any virus. thank you for that question. >> and that leads me -- look, that's 20% type two diabetes rate among native americans. it's stunning. this leads me to my question about the special diabetes program which was enacted in 1997. half the money goes for type 2 diabetes among tribes. it's been reauthorized for very short periods of time. and that -- and you talked a little bit about this, ms. sharp, in your testimony when you said we need to authorize it for a long period of time. when you talk about why that is so important? >> yes, we absolutely need predictability and a stable
funding source to make sure that we can develop not only short-term immediate strategy, but underlying challenges that we need a long-term strategy and to work with our community to develop community buy in and various strategies, we have to have stable funding. thank you for that question. >> yeah, originally when we first passed it in 1997 we had a long-term authorization and everybody agrees that it needs to be authorized long term. it just doesn't seem to happen. i'm going to give a shout-out to my representative who is the lead sponsor on the five-year reauthorization and it calls for $200 million and frankly that's really what we need to have. and so i'm hoping -- half of the money goes for type 1 diabetes, the other for type 2. we need to reauthorize both of those components, meld them together and do it for five years. mr. chairman, i know you're
committed to doing that. we just need to make it happen. with that, i will yield back. >> thank you, diana. next we're going to go to mr. latta is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman, for holding this very important hearing today. i really appreciate all of our witnesses for their testimony today and for all that you're doing. president nez, if i may start with you. in may, president trump issued an executive order directing federal agencies to review the regulations and modify or rescind them in order to help in the economic recovery from covid-19. on behalf of the navajo nation, you submitted a white paper in response to that executive order outlaying some of the regulatory reforms that you would speed up, infrastructure deployment on the navajo land. you wrote that currently federal
laws, policies, regulations stifle the completion of projects that address the critical and basic needs of your people. some of these projects are more than three years old because of these obstructions. the commerce committee recently revealed a package of 26 bills and for legislation that would achieve many of the similar suggestions you made in your white paper such as stream line reviews and applications for coallocations and exclude previously disturbed land from undergoing lengthy federal reviews. these are reforms that don't cost any money that could help bring broadband to unserved americans. president nez, what are some of the regulatory obstacles you face in the navajo nation to deploy broadband infrastructure. >> representative latta,
chairman, members of the committee, great question and thank you for reading that white paper. we're in an emergency operation here on the navajo nation, all across the country with this pandemic. and so the c.a.r.e.s. act funding was intended to aid and give relief to u.s. citizens. and as we have been mentioning, we got those dollars late into this year, three months ago, 40% of the c.a.r.e.s. act that was going to tribes went to the tribes. just three weeks ago, the remaining 40% came to the tribes and so we have a deadline to get these projects done by december 31st and a little bit beyond that. and so what we need here in -- i'm hoping all of the committee members recognize that tribal lands are characterized as any federal lands throughout the country. you have to jump those federal regular -- through those federal
regulations, those policies and this white paper that we submitted would help temporarily based on these dollars get these projects developed in a timely manner. that's why we're asking for an extension, one to two years. two years at the most extension to get these c.a.r.e.s. act funds because in tribal communities, it's hard to get projects complete. one of those examples is right of ways. and also environmental clearances for 401 and 404 permits. and you also have business site leasing regulations that hinder development. if we can, you know, set aside certain policies and regulations to help build a wall between mexico and the u.s., i'm sure we can do the same here in tribal communities throughout the country. and i appreciate that question, representative latta, and i know this committee could be the
champion to, you know, make those changes not just temporary, but permanently for tribes throughout the country. >> thank you very much. chairman sage, if i could ask in my last minute and ten seconds here, the southern ute indian tribe has made significant progress in connecting its citizens despite the challenging geography. how are you able to overcome of the barriers that you faced and bring the connectivity to your reservation? >> thank you, representative, for the question. the southern ute indian tribe is unique in many ways including its success on a reservation. it enables greater economic development. by making the most of what we have been given, we've been given by our creator, we have been able to provide for our people in a meaningful way. our most vulnerable, valuable
resource is your people. but there is still much to be done if we are to reach our full potential. the current pandemic has made some of these hardships very apparent. historically tribal lands, particularly those in rural communities, have been the most underserved when it comes to essential communication infrastructure. we are the largest employer in southwest colorado and the second largest in the four corners area. we have invested millions of the tribes own funds in technology. but with employees and tribal members working from home, relying on remote education and health providers relying on telehealth, those investments are strained and our infrastructure is inadequate given the demands of the modern area. most communities across this country are concerned about the speed of their internet and cell phone coverage.
for the vast -- they're worried about whether -- we would support any congressional measure that help enable indian country to have robust [ inaudible ]. that would include measures to help ease the burden of [ inaudible ] provided to the tribe have fewer restrictions [ inaudible ] improve the quality and range of communication services. but as it currently stands, we will struggle [ inaudible ] without the necessary audit by the treasury. thank you very much. >> thank you very much. my time's expired and i yield back. thanks again to our witnesses for being with us today. >> thank you, bob. >> next we have mr. schakowsky.
jan. i think you have to unmute. >> there i am. okay. >> good. >> thank you, mr. chairman. it's just the fact that the united states has failed to meet its responsibilities to provide comprehensive, high quality health care to all federally recognized tribal tribes and their members. but nowhere is that failure more apparent in my opinion than in reproductive health care. since 1976, the hyde amendment has denied federally funded abortion care to low-income vulnerable women who get their health insurance through medicaid. but over the past 44 years, the hyde amendment has expanded and expanded. and today restrictions on
abortion coverage also impact anyone receiving health care through the indian health service. because ihs facilities are often the lone source of reproductive health care for native american women, the hyde amendment effectively denies women their con tour nally protected legal right to a safe and legal medical procedure. a study published by the native american women's health education resource center found that only 25 abortions were performed through the ihs system between 1976 when the hyde amendment was passed and 2002. tragically, we have also seen
nationwide that as abortion access goes down, maternal mortality and morbidity goes up. the center for disease control and prevention, cdc, reports that today american indians and alaskan native women are twice to three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than white women. so, president sharp, i'm committed to passing timely what we call [ inaudible ] representative barbara lee to end the hyde amendment once and for all. but what else do you think we need to do to improve reproductive health care in tribal communities? >> i really appreciate that
question. thank you. and thank you for recognizing the disproportionate and high rate of maternal mortality rate. you're right. we do suffer at a rate of 2.3 times higher, and it's even worse in rural communities where that rate is 4.5 times higher for our population. and i can say from personal experience, i have one child. and i ended up in the intensive care unit. my child was at risk of dying, and he was born at four pounds. and i only have one child for that reason. and so because we do suffer these impacts, it is so very important that we pay special attention to women's reproductive health in appropriations for ihs. so, thank you so much for that question and raising attention to this very important issue. >> well, thank you, and i look forward going ahead to work with
you on specifically targeting that community. and let me just say, this is really a historic hearing. you know, we have over the history of our country so badly treated native americans and we're still seeing residuals of all of that. we have to do so much more. but the good news is that we are expanding the number of americans in the congress, two women now, dove halen and sherice david are in the congress now. you know the saying, if you're not at the table, you're probably on the menu. so, we're happy to have them. and now to have this historic hearing. i think we were talking before this that this may be the first real comprehensive hearing that we have had about tribal
communities. so, i hope it's the first of many, and let's work together on women's reproductive health. and with that, i yield back. thank you so much. >> thank you, jan. and now we go to ms. rogers for five minutes. >> good morning. good morning mr. chairman, and thank you everyone on the panel for joining us today on this important topic. i have the honor of representing several sovereign nation tribes in eastern washington including the caldwell, and the spokane. like many other tribal communities in the country, they've been hit hard, especially during this public health crisis, the coronavirus, and the many issues that have been brought to the forefront. the digital divide is especially highlighted in rural communities and in tribal community ies, an it's underscored the importance of us taking action to address and close the digital divide.
i am proud that the eastern washington tribes are working collaboratively with other stakeholders. we have a broadband action team that is focused on identifying and addressing barriers to deployment including some unique models to lay dark fiber and partner with the private sector to provide the service. health care is also really important and we must address some of the disparities that are in health care. the caldwell con federated tribe has shared with me today that they have been an abrupt decline in third party billing during the pandemic that as obstructed building a new clinic in washington. this was one of five projects selected by indian health services by the joint venture construction program. the very competitive nationwide program and five projects withstood multiple levels of
review. however, as dr. graham discussed in his testimony, the viability of some of these projects has been negatively impacted by covid-19. so, dr. graham, i wanted to start with asking you that if congress makes additional appropriations available for ihs facility construction, should it also allow tribes to use those funds for their approved joint venture project. >> thank you for that question. i don't say this lightly because that's not the way this program normally works, but i think everyone would agree that we're in unprecedented times. all of those projects went through extensive review as you pointed out, a competitive process that meant that they were fully ready to do all these things. and now the economy's taken a huge downturn, tribes have been
impacted, as you have heard throughout this hearing. and i think allowing the agency that flexibility or asking them to spend some portion of those funds on these projects is entirely appropriate under these circumstances. >> thank you. i appreciate that, dr. graham, and i would like to ask unanimous consent to enter into the record a statement from the con federated tribes of the caldwell reservation and it's on their joint venture project. >> without objection, so ordered. >> thank you. i also wanted to focus on medicaid which is an essential program. and medicaid expansion has played a critical role for tribal health. however, we know that problems still exist within the indian health system in states that have expanded. and washington state is one of those states that has expanded. as we think about how we can support the tribes in both expansion and non-expansion states, we need to have a full
understanding of the needs the tribes are facing and the role here in congress that we can be playing to uphold our obligation. dr. graham, can you just detail some of the issues that we're seeing in the medicaid expansion states as it relates to indian health services. >> well, as you pointed out, congresswoman, those states that have it are doing better than the states that don't. and some studies are coming out now that show it has improved the health care of the population. but it's not the see all and end all. and whenever you, you know, expand it that broadly, you start running into more problems. and so there is a group under cms called the ttag, tribal technical advisory group. that group debates and talks and discusses all these issues with cms. my written testimony, a number of things that would both help the efficiency of the agency and of tribes but also the funding.
i'll give one example of one of the issues. it's called the four walls issue. you've heard it a lot. it says that it has to be done within the four walls of a facility. that means at a time like this with covid when tribe ws were putting tent testing centers outdoors or might be using alternate care facilities, those things aren't able to be billed adequately. the telemedicine that immediately went into effect across the nation, the billings and the rules around that has lagged. tribes face another issue around indian health care providers providing services that are authorized by the law, but since medicaid is a state-by-state program, they don't get to necessarily bill for all those services.
-- congress would fix that issue so if it was authorized that medicaid would allow those services to be billed. those are a free brief examples. i'll stop there. >> great. that's what i was hoping you would highlight. i appreciate that, certainly initiative that the committee needs to look at. i yield back, mr. chairman. >> thank you. next is mr. butterfield. recognized for five minutes. is g.k. available? i don't know. he may not be connected because i think he was driving maybe. jeff, i'm going to move on unless you know that g.k. is on.
okay. then we go to ms. matsui. is doris available? can you guys hear me? >> yes, we can hear you, chairman. >> all right. let me see who's next here if those two are not here. oh, okay. so, the next one, then we'll go to kathy castor, the gentlewoman from florida is recognized. >> hi everybody. thanks to our terrific witnesses. but thank you, chairman pallone, for calling this very important hearing, and congratulations on your big win last night. i think it's very clear we didn't even need to have a hearing to understand that our
indigenous people in our tribal nations have not been respected under the law. but i'd like to shift to talking about the potential of clean energy and climate solutions. many of you know that last week the democrats on the select committee of the climate crisis of which i chair released a majority staff report which laid out a climate crisis action plan that included numerous recommendations to support tribal nations. the plan calls on congress to work with tribal leaders to expand clean energy solutions, cut pollution, to advance environmental justice, to improve public health among other recommendations. we know that tribal nations can contribute to the deployment of climate solutions and clean energy using their natural
resources and their long-standing at t long-standing tenets of environmental stewardship. the american congress of american indians has outlined indian country's priorities for addressing the climate crisis in a resolution that emphasizes the importance of economic development and tribal sovereignty as part of a transition to a clean energy economy. the offices within the department of interior and the department of energy have provided technical assistance to tribes on clean energy, but the level of support for these initiatives is often inconsistent. broader infrastructure backlogs fe bureau of indian affairs also need attention and funding. so, in addition to major statutes like the federal power act, public utility regulatory policies act, they're all silent
on the -- on jurisdiction of tribes. utilities, we've discussed come of that today. in a 2015 resolution, ncai called on congress to clarify that indian tribes have regulatory jurisdiction over utilities on reservations or villages. i would like to delve into that a little bit deeper and hear from our leaders today. so, president sharp, it's good to see you again. thank you for testifying and advising the climate crisis select committee. thank you for your kind words on our action plan release last week. we recommend expanding and increasing funding for the office of indian energy and policy programs at the department of energy. how would this investment assist tribal advanced clean energy infrastructure? >> yes, thank you so much for your leadership and thank you for directly engaging tribal
nations up to this point. i would really like to focus my remarks around the sovereignty of tribal nations in advancing economies. and as we pointed out in our meeting, and i cited an example. when there was traits early in my presidency, the international rate was $5 to $8 a metric ton. here in this country, it wasn't even close to that level. but domestic companies couldn't access those international markets because the u.s. was not a signatory to a kyoto protocol. however, a tribal nation could access those. so, i think looking at global solutions and global economy, ways that tribes can stand on sovereign authority, we can attract foreign investment that otherwise we would never see in the united states. there are many opportunities in partnership we can do with funding and support.
so, those are the exciting things we're looking at in building a new economy. >> you all have suggested that on the resiliency piece there are so many natural solutions for sequestering carbon and putting people to work, and the report from the majority staff really suggests bold investments there. give us some examples of how we can rebuild back, rebuild better at a time where we have over 40 million americans out of work? and i know that's a deep problem on our reservations. >> the most effective policy that any government can adopt in addressing climate change is pricing carbon. and that means holding those who are directly responsible accountable to generate revenue. those dollars can be invested in recovery efforts. that will put millions of people back to work with a new economy
around natural resources, around restoration. so, we are -- stand with you to boldly take action to generate revenues that can then be in turn reinvested in creating jobs across many sectors. >> thank you very much. i yield back. >> thank you, kathy. next we go to mr. guthrie for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i appreciate the opportunity and appreciate all the witnesses for being here today. i just want to start out with the last congress, i know representatives mullin and reese coach you on bipartisan indian health service task force for the committee. the task force identified numerous issues that should be examined by the subcommittee on oversight investigations, including issues relating to hiring, treatment of patients and general oversight. and the agency is in dire need of oversight. and now during the covid-19 pandemic, we're seeing even more issues within the indian health
service that congress and the committee must examine in more detail. and i really appreciate the hearing today, but i hope that we will let our discussion end on the issues of today and that the oversight investigation subcommittee on hearings of oversight indian health services again this year. so, for my first question, dr. graham, the indian health care improvement act offered services from dental care to long term care to mental and behavioral health care. these are known as qualified indian provider services. but because medicaid is jointly administered by states and the federal government, tribes can't go for these essential services if they aren't covered in the state medicaid plan despite being authorized under federal law. so, my two questions for that is what must congress do to address this technical issue, and how long would fixing it improve
care for native people? and how would fixing this issue impact third party reimbursement at tribal and urban indian facilities? thank you. >> thank you congressman guthrie for that question. that is an issue. the indian health care improvement act allows indian health care providers to provide a number of services, and we're going to do that whether a patient has a third party of any sort or not. we have come to rely heavily on third party resources within the indian health services and tribes for our operational budgets. what we need is an authorization from congress to allow indian health care providers to receive reimbursement for services authorized under the indian health care improvement act and other qualified indian provider services. whenever we deliver them to medicaid-eligible american indians or alaskan natives. currently, as you pointed out, we only received reimbursement
when a state has made the services eligible. and as you know, medicaid varies from state to state in both eligibility and services. and also you all know that the states don't have to pay any match like they do for the rest of their population for american indian patients seen in indian facilities. so, what we're asking you to do would not have an impact on the states' budgets either. so, thank you. >> thank you. thank you for that answer. and chairman sage, in your testimony, you mentioned the impacts that the coronavirus has had on this other new indian tribe. specifically you mentioned that the pandemic has underscored the lack of access to high speed internet in indian country. my district, remote learning has highlighted the challenge of broadband access particularly in the rural parts of my district. how is your tribe bridging the gap in the short term, and what are some of the solutions you are looking at to address this
issue in the long term? thank you. >> thank you for the question. [ inaudible ] dealing with the gap here with the internet service. we do have our own entity that i oversee with the what is called the suss department and they monitor all of the internet, the wifi that's all available for us. so, we get that. we are 615 well with this. but we do need the broadband. my concern with the broadband is that if our students are going to go to college and they're going to have to be taking classes online. there's no way that they're going to be able to do this because they don't have the internet, the service that they will need to succeed themselves. and then our telehealth. we have our -- we have ihs.
they also say go through the state. we're always -- it's just always that we're pushed aside. nothing's really, you know, dominant and just in stone thing that we're going to assist us here. but we're doing well here with what you have. thank you. >> thank you very much. your answer. good timing. i have five seconds left, and i'll yield those back, mr. chair. thank you very much for being here today. thank you. >> thank you, brett. next we're going to go to mr. mcnearny for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i thank you the witnesses. this is a tremendous hearing with a lot of information. could be done in several hearings like mr. shimkus noted. but access are clearly major concerns for the tribal communities. but even where broadband has been deployed, people are still being left behind because they can't afford broadband or they
lacked digital literacy skills. now, i'm the house sponsor of the digital equity act which would help adjust these challenges. i've introduced this bill with my colleagues representative clark and representative lujan and i'm pleased that the ncia has endorsed and it and the house passed it last week. president sharp, would your communities benefit from resources that would be made available if we make broadband for affordable, equip individuals with devices and provide literary skills -- digital literary skills -- including doing tasks like applying for jobs online? would that be very helpful? >> yes, that would be incredibly helpful. and we do thank you for your leadership in recognizing the tremendous need and meeting that need with resources. we would also recommend that there be coordination and communication among the various federal agencies because there are a wide range of agencies
that are funded, but there's no one lead agency to provide a very clear strategy. so, those two things would be very helpful and we thank you for your leadership. >> well, thank you. that's a good help and information. president, access to spectrum is also important for connectivity needs of the tribal communities. the tribal priority window for 2.5 gigahertz ban closes on august 3rd. however the house acted in hr 2 to extend this period by 180 days. the fcc could act on its own to do this today if it happened to do so. president nez, applying for fcc special licenses can be complicated, especially for tribal government representing a vast territory. and you described the typical decision-making process for the navajo nation when deciding whether to apply for spectrum licenses including how long each step takes?
>> yes. thank you for the question, representative mcnerney. and chairman and members of the committee, thank you for that question. navajo nation is 27,000 square miles. we are in three states. you know, there's mention of medicaid expansion. we got a deal with three states. and in terms of broadband and internet access, telecommunication, we have to be able to work with the states as well. but this initiative -- and i appreciate you championing this for tribal communities -- will allow tribes to fit in the 2.5 -- at least navajo nation, let me say that, navajo nation, 2.5 -- to be able to be used in
the rural-most parts of the navajo nation. and that is in the eastern part of the navajo nation. and one example in the western part of the navajo nation, we have a hospital there that doesn't have internet capability for really connecting to the -- gosh, the word -- i forgot what it's called -- the connectivity there that we utilized for funding during the american recovery reinvestment act -- fiber. there it is -- fiber line to go to the hospital. and right now that hospital in that community doesn't get that fast-speed internet. so, during a covid-19, this pandemic, you know, it's going to be hard for telemedicine and also getting -- and this type of spectrum would help get some relief getting high speed
internet and connectivity to these places that don't have fiber. thank you, representative mcnerney. >> well, what else do you believe the federal communication committee should be doing to help on this issue? >> well, the fcc, if they would look at some of the white paper, representative mcnerney, about how we can have federal agencies work together to, you know, either set aside -- i hate to say -- but to set aside the federal regulations and policies so that we can get high speed internet and also cell service for those people that don't have it, especially now. you know, we have to have students go to these hotspots in order for them to get internet availability. and here we're in a shelter-in-place or a stay-at-home order and we're seeing students traveling to
these hotspots and even community members going to these hotspots. whereas if we open it up, they could be able to connect from the home which would lessen the spread of coronavirus here in the navajo nation. thank you. >> thank you. my time is expired but i'm going to submit a question for the record about the effect on the navajo nation. thank you. i yield back. >> thank you, jerry. next, we have mr. griffin. >> thank you, very much. can you hear me, mr. chairman? >> yes. >> okay. excellent. chairman sage, it is remarkable what the southern ute has accomplished over the last several decades creating and operating new businesses on and off the reservation that generate millions for your tribe. while your tribe has a diverse portfolio in investments in real estate, housing, and gaming, oil and housing production appear to be particularly important. can you share a bit about your
tribe's experience with the national environmental policy act and any other federal regulatory barriers as you have advanced energy development on your tribal lands? >> if i can get this to mute. >> yes, ma'am. >>
thank you for the question. yes, nepa is on development infrastructure. every time a major federal action is pending, nepa is triggered. at a minimum, agencies should use tribal environment analysis. and where the tribe has the kind of sophisticated government, it should be allowed to develop and administer its own tribal environmental policy act instead of the federal nepa. with the part two, the tribe also faces inconsistent
requirement through the various federal agencies on the single project. blm, usfs, united states forest service and inconsistent requirements. consistency across federal partners would greatly benefit. thank you. >> and so would you support current efforts to modernize nepa
to help bring clarity to these various matters? >> yes, definitely. >> and are you concerned by some of the environmental proposals, particularly those that are more extreme that are out there that would ban fracking or phase out fossil fuels completely? >> that's a good question. >> to be determined. >> yes, yes, definitely. it would have to take a lot of review, collaboration to make sure that this is going to
benefit the tribe. >> right. and of course if you ban fossil fuels outright, then you have the same situation that president nez had where they're looking at -- as many people in my district are looking for ways to reduce the revenues from coal. his state early on said 30 to $50 million had been lost by the nation as a result of closing down the co-fired power plant and the coal mine that previously was hiring and employeeing members of his nation. would that be the same if they suddenly shut down oil and gas production in your area? >> yes, it's a balance there. it would definitely be a balance. >> and i appreciate that. >> and president nez, do you have any comments that you might make on how do we replace that 30 to $50 million that you said
was lost as a result of the shutting down of the coal-fired power plant and the coal mining jobs? how do we replace that? and how does that impact your ability to try to get electricity to the homes in the navajo nation that currently lack electricity? >> thank you for that question representative griffith. and let me go to representative castor's question about clean energy and climate change. yes, we are seeing closures of coal fired power plants, one on the navajo nation, another outside our nation. and there's a potential of others closing down in the future. and that's jobs and revenue and the local economy getting impacted negatively. but there is a move to transition away from fossil fuel into renewable energy. we do have some projects that are being planned right now. solar and wind.
and, you know, it comes back to, as was mentioned, these federal regulations. you know, nepa, to be able to set some of those regulations aside could really jump start some of these projects quickly. and i appreciate you all talking about that. thank you. >> so, reforming knnepa could hp the renewables as well. one of the other things i've been championing is we have research on clean energy and fossil fuels. i'm not trying to reduce any of that, but maybe we can find a way to make the coal-fired plant a little cheaper or a little more efficient and less costly in the sense of pollutants. that being said, i see my time is up and i have to yield back. thank you so much to all the witnesses for your time. >> thank you, morgan. so, next we're going to go to mr. lujan. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i appreciate that very much. it's an honor to be with you to.
every one of the panelists, it's an honor to be with you as well. thank you for being available today. and special greetings, mr. president, to president nez, hello my friend from the navajo nation which i'm proud to represent in new mexico. the third congressional district of new mexico, i'm proud to represent 50 pueblos, hickory, apache and navajo nation. the coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated challenges and inequities that long-existed before covid-19. the inequities include a lack of access to broadband, insufficient housing support, barriers to ensuring an accurate census count, and failure to guarantee access to the ballot box. simply put, the federal government is not living up to its trust responsibilities. housing, water, health care,
road and broadband projects are underfunded and often wait for federal approval while communities suffer. these failures span many decades and presidential administrations and it's not acceptable. and as a congress, we must come together in a bipartisan way to fulfill our obligations to tribal communities. dr. graham, your testimony is very clear on this. will you please state yes or no whether the indian health services has chronically been underfunded before covid-19? >> yes, sir, it has. >> and i spoke about a $3 million ihs contract awarded to former trump white house staffer whose company delivered thousands of faulty masks which were unfit for use which ihs discovered before they were distributed to the facilities of my state. is it acceptable that ihs patients and physicians and first responders should receive lower quality supplies, lower
quality facilities, or lower quality health care? >> no, sir, none of those things are acceptable. >> i appreciate that, sir. president nez, in your testimony you note that the digital divide affects business's ability to thrive, students ability to work, and patients ability to see their doctor. and all this has been made worse by the covid-19 crisis. according to the cdc, lack access to high speed fixed broadband. this is unacceptable. president nez, yes or no, do we in the congress and the federal government need to make more robust investments in broadband access to ensure the tribal communities are not left behind? >> absolutely yes, and oh, my friend. >> i appreciate that, mr. president. recently fcc commissioner joined me in new mexico to have a conversation with tribal and public communities about the
erate program which is an important program to expand broadband connect i.t. to educational facilities to, libraries to. me, long-term needs once the stay-at-home order is lifted, yes or no, do you agree that congress should support connectivity at tribal anchored institutions such as tribal libraries, schools, and chapter houses by making them all eligible for the erate program? >> yes. >> and president nez, in your testimony, you say that the united states must, quote, address all the health, cultural and environmental consequences of the uranium extraction and processing on navajo lands. as you know, these consequences include severe forms of cancel, kidney diseases, and respiratory illnesses. yes or no, has the covid-19 crisis exacerbated the health impact of our nation's legacy of uranium mining on the navajo people? >> yes, absolutely.
>> mr. president, yes or no, should congress pass the radiation exposure compensation act amendments to extend eureka and expand compensation to all those impacted by uranium mining and nuclear testing during the cold war. >> yes, sir. >> i appreciate that, mr. president. and that's one area where i'm hoping my colleagues, democrats and republicans, who were currently not co-sponsors are providing support to uranium mine workers and communities like in new mexico where the first bomb wassest theed on soil were not included in downward communities. i hope we can all come together and pass this legislation. and as you heard from president nez, it's important that aspects of the reka be included in whatever the funding is in response to covid-19 fwauf the exposure to so many families because of the respiratory illnesses. the last question i have, what does the lack of access to running water mean to the communities of tribal
communities and public communities including family's risk for covid-19 and other health issues. >> as you know, american indian and lass can natives, their homes have 6% that have unacceptable water sewer compared to one-half of 1% in the u.s. white population. one of the biggest things cdc says to do is wash your hands. they don't have the ability to do that. if you look at the mortality and morbidity statistics within the indian health service and you take a look at how much can be reduced by safe water and safe sewer, no matter whether you go to a tribal hospital or clinic, it's remarkable. it's absolutely necessary for people's health and it's absolutely necessary during covid-19. >> i appreciate that. i yield back, mr. chairman. i think dr. grim's testimony said that it was 10.83% times
more likely in homes without indoor plumbing that there would be spread of covid-19. thank you for this important hearing, mr. chairman. i yield back. >> thank you. now we're going to move to mr. bilirakis. you're recognized for five minutes. >> thank you. thank you mr. chairman. i appreciate it very much. i want to thank the witnesses for testifying today as well. dr. grim, clinical trials often provide patients with the best, perhaps only treatment option for their condition. however, without coverage of routine costs associated with participation in clinical trials, many medicaid beneficiaries do not have the latest technology, technological and scientific advancements as a treatment option. medicaid serves many demographics including tribal communities that are underrepresented in current clinical trial enrollment. lack of participation in
clinical trials from the medicaid population means these patients are being excluded from potentially life-saving trials and are not reflected in the outcome of the clinical research. congressman lujan, my good friend, and i introduced hr-913, the clinical treatment act, which would address this issue by providing coverage of routine care costs associated with clinical trial participation for medicaid enrollees. and this is a question. does increased access to clinical trial participation for medicaid enrollees help ensure medical research results more accurately capture and reflect the population of this country? and if so, why is that important? and especially if we develop better treatment options and a
vaccine for the covid-19. that's a question for dr. grimm please. >> thank you, congressman. you're absolutely right there's been underrepresentation of all minorities and medicaid eligible patients. one of the reasons it's so important is that if a new drug or a new treatment is not tested on a specific population group, whenever that medication or treatment comes out, the doctors ask themselves, hm, especially doctors in indian health service, they'll say there really wasn't a significant or any indian population in this particular trial. how do we know this drug is going to work the same on our population? and that goes across the spectrum of almost anything. so, i think it's extremely important although i've not read your full bill, i support the concept, and i appreciate the question. >> very good. thank you. i appreciate the answer. dr. grim, according to the nih, diabetes is a common risk factor
for peripheral arterial disease or p.a.d., a circulatory deficiency that leads to blockages in the blood vessels that supply the lower extremities. native americans experience both diabetes and p.a.d. at a disproportionate rate. and certain region of the u.s., native americans are more likely to undergo a p.a.d.-related amputation than caucasians. patients who undergo amputations have shorter life expectancies and exchange independence and physicality with high death rates and a costly the dependency on our burdened health care system. however, most of these are preventable if p.a.d. is screened/diagnosed early and properly managed. and i've actually witnessed a
procedure that's really incredible, what we're doing today. because tribal communities are disproportionately affected by p.a.d., what steps can be taken to ensure that these communities, even in the midst of a pandemic, have better access to care that will prevent such amputations? if you can answer that question, sir, i'd appreciate it. >> thank you, again, congressman. so, amputations specifically i'll talk about, in native communities is higher, as you pointed out. and it's terrible when the disease reaches that state where there's no other way to treat it. because of the isolation of many of our communities and the ability to get either the specialists for that sort of care or to recruit people to your community to actually work, those are very difficult hurdles to overcome.
and just off of the top of my head -- and i'm willing to research this further. but i feel like the agency would need more purchased and referred care dollars, those dollars that we use to refer the higher level specialists for care that would help our population. the other thing that was mentioned earlier too is the approval of the bill that would extend a longer term to the special diabetes program for indians and also raise the dollar amount on that. that program has done an immense amount to reduce the prevalence and incidence of diabetes in indian country. and as you pointed out, that's one of the primary factors that causes a higher level of this disease in our population. >> yeah, really solves -- this is common sense. i know we could save a lot of money as well because amputations and the care afterwards is very expensive. but it's a quality of life issue. mr. chairman, i'm not sure if i have anymore time.
i don't see a clock. but i have one more question if i have time. >> you have time. >> very good. i appreciate it. ms. sage, your testimony talks about some of the issues tribes have had in accessing the pe paycheck protection program, ppe funding. al can you tell us more about this and what would you propose to fix the administration of ppp. i know we made some tweaks to it and they've been very positive. but what else can you add? thank you. and this is for ms. page -- excuse me, ms. sage. >> thank you for that question. with that, we will allow multiple entities to apply under
one eim. and that was my answer. thank you. >> thank you very much. mr. chairman, i yield back. i appreciate you holding this hearing. thank you. >> thank you, gus. the u.s. house and senate return on monday to resume legislative business following their state work period over the fourth of july holiday. the u.s. house considers the 2021 national defense authorization act with votes expected as early as 11:30 a.m. eastern. the senate convenes at 3:00 p.m. they resume debate on the nomination of russell vought to be director of the office of management and budget. he's been serving in an acting capacity since january 2019. the senate limited debate and advanced his nomination on july 2nd. at 5:30 p.m., the senate votes on confirmation of the vote nomination. watch live coverage of the house when they return on c-span, live
coverage of the senate on c-span2. tonight on american history tv, our series landmark cases produced in cooperation with the national constitution center. we explore the issues, people and places involved in some of the most significant supreme court cases in our nation's history. at 8:00 eastern we begin with schenck versus united states, holding that men who distributed leaflets against the draft could be convicted of espionage and that the first amendment is not absolute. and then at 9:30 from the 1944 case korematsu versus united states. watch "landmark cases" tonight on c-span3 and any time on
c-span.org. treasury secretary steven mnuchin appears before the house small business committee on oversight of the small business administration and department of treasury pandemic program. live coverage begins friday at 10:30 a.m. eastern on c-span. and later this month, u.s. attorney general william barr appears before the house judiciary's committee general oversight committee on the justice department. on tuesday july 28th. watch live coverage of the mnuchin hearing friday at 10:30 a.m. eastern on c-span, watch any time on c-span.org, or listen on the go with the c-span radio app. american history tv on c-span3, exploring the people and events that tell the american story every weekend. coming up saturday, at 6:00 p.m. eastern on the civil war, historian herald holt zer talk
about their joint publication, "the civil war and 50 objects" all related to the draft riots in new york city. on sunday at 6:00 p.m. on "american artifacts" we'll tour fort monroe casement museum, the largest stone forth in the united states that sits at the mouth of the chesapeake bay in virginia. hear how the fort served as a beacon of freedom for enslaved people and how it held jefferson davis for president for two years after the war. at 7:00 p.m., a look at fdr, trueman, and the atomic bomb on the heels of the anniversary of the bombings. and at 8:00 p.m. on "the presidency" ronald reagan's 1983 interview with "reader's digest"
and his 1988 interview with the bbc. both interviews were conducted from the oval office with president reagan discussing a variety of issues including his hollywood days, the 1983 bombings that killed u.s. marines in beirut lebanon, and the assassination attempt that left him seriously wounded. exploring the american story. watch american history tv this weekend on c-span3. a house task force on artificial intelligence examined the use of ai technology to combat the coronavirus pandemic. witnesses debated privacy concerns using ai. this hearing was held by video conference. it was chaired by congressman bill foster. >> the task force will now come to order. without objection, the chair is authorized to declare a recess of the task force at any time. without objection, the members of the full committee not on onn