By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF
President Obama submitted the American Jobs Act of 2011 to Congress on Monday, Sept. 12. He vows to create more jobs throughout America and cut payroll taxes so that workers will have more take-home pay.
“The purpose of the American Jobs Act of 2011 is simple,” he said, “put more people back to work and put more money in the pockets of working Americans. And, it will do so without adding a dime to the deficit.”
But, how will this legislation, if passed, affect Indian Country?
First off, the Act already does have some support from one of the largest American Indian organizations in the country – the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI).
“NCAI applauds the President for taking action and supports the very real impact of the American Jobs Act for tribal nations and Native people,” said NCAI president Jefferson Keel. “Over 20,000 Native American-owned small businesses would benefit from tax cuts and 1.5 million Native American workers will benefit from the extension of the payroll tax cut.”
Kimberly Teehee, a Cherokee Nation citizen and senior policy advisor for Native American Affairs for the White House Domestic Policy Council, commented, “With unemployment among Native Americans at an unacceptably high rate, the President believes that inaction is not an option. That’s why the President has put out a plan to increase the pace of job creation, and why he has called on Congress to act on this plan. The American Jobs Act will make a difference in Indian Country.”
In addition to the tax cuts to Native American small business and the payroll tax cuts, the Act will also provide an extension of unemployment insurance and will provide monies to help with community revitalization initiatives.
“The President’s investments in infrastructure include a school construction initiative that will provide $125 million for schools funded by the Bureau of Indian Education,” said Teehee, “and $12.5 million for tribal colleges, and a new initiative to expand infrastructure employment opportunities for minorities, women and socially and economically disadvantaged individuals, including Native Americans.”
Sen. Daniel K. Akaka (D-Hawaii), chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, supports the President’s plan as well. “We must come together to create jobs and improve our economy. The American people want us to work together for the good of the country. That is what we’re here for.”
To view the entire bill, visit www.whitehouse.gov.