Strengthen​ing Tribal Communitie​s Through the HEARTH Act

The White House

Strengthening Tribal CommunitiesThrough the HEARTH Act

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President Obama signs the HEARTH Act

President Barack Obama signs H.R. 205, the HEARTH Act of 2012, in the Oval Office, July 30, 2012. Standing behind the President, from left, are: Bryan Newland, Senior Policy Advisor at the Department of the Interior; Governor Randall Vicente, Pueblo of Acoma in New Mexico; David Hayes, Deputy Secretary of the Department of the Interior; Jefferson Keel, President of the National Congress of American Indians; Rep. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M.; Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii; interior Secretary Ken Salazar; Cheryl Causley, Chairperson of the National American Indian Housing Council; Governor Gregory Mendoza, Gila River Indian Community of Arizona; and Del Laverdure, Acting Assistant Secretary of the Department of the Interior. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama understands that by allowing greater tribal control over tribal assets, we encourage economic growth, promote community development in Indian Country, and support tribal self-determination. That’s why this Administration is committed to strengthening tribal communities by improving tribal governments’ capacity for controlling their own futures.

Earlier today, President Obama demonstrated the latest step in this commitment by signing into law the Helping Expedite and Advance Responsible Tribal Homeownership (HEARTH) Act. This legislation allows tribes to lease restricted lands for residential, business, public, religious, educational, or recreational purposes without the approval of the Secretary of the Interior.

The HEARTH Act promotes greater tribal self-determination and will help create jobs in Indian Country. Under the Act, federally recognized tribes can develop and implement their own regulations governing certain leasing on Indian lands. Upon Secretarial approval of these tribal regulations, tribes will have the authority to process land leases without Bureau of Indian Affairs approval. This new authority has the potential to significantly reduce the time it takes to approve leases for homes and small businesses in Indian Country. By allowing tribes to more quickly and easily lease their lands, the bill promotes investment in tribal communities and more broadly facilitates economic development.

The HEARTH Act builds on the Administration’s strong record of accomplishments for Native Americans and Native Alaskans and complements existing initiatives to strengthen tribal economies. Just recently, on July 12th, Treasury announced that it is opening up $1.8 billion of Tribal Economic Development (TED) bonds for reallocation to tribal governments. The TED bond program was established under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), and provides tribes with the authority to issue tax-exempt debt for a wider range of activities to spur job creation and promote economic growth in Indian Country. By providing tribes with the ability to issue tax-exempt debt in a manner similar to that available to state and local governments, tribes can lower their borrowing costs and more easily engage in new economic development projects.

With the Cobell and Keepseagle Settlements, the Tribal Law and Order Act, water rights settlements, fee-to-trust reform, TED bonds, and now the HEARTH Act, this Administration’s accomplishments for Indian Country tell a very compelling story about how far we have gone to make meaningful progress on advancing tribal self-determination, promoting economic growth, and  revitalizing our trust responsibility. Water and land are the primary trust assets we manage for Indian tribes, and the Obama Administration has made monumental strides by recognizing tribes as partners, ending the repetition of past mistakes, and working together to identify and develop concrete solutions that will improve the quality of life in tribal communities.

By Jodi Gillette, Senior Policy Advisor for Native American Affairs, White House Domestic Policy Council


The August 1 deadline for insurance company refunds – Check out the map … DeAnn Friedholm

Policy and Action from Consumer Reports

We’ve mapped the refunds!The August 1 deadline for insurance companyrefunds is fast approaching, but there’s virtually no public detail to help people figure out their own situation. Except here. We’ve mapped which companies will likely be giving refunds, and in which states.Check it out!

All the data is not yet in, but companies have started to report what kind of refunds they will give, and in which states. We’re compiling those reports.

Based on the estimates provided by insurers, billions in health insurance refunds are due to consumers, starting August 1.

For you, we either don’t have enough information to tell you about your specific situation or you didn’t respond to last week’s quick survey. You can still check out what’s happening in your state and then contact your state’s department of insurance.

Click here to see our map, and then roll your cursor over your state to see the detail!

The new health care law requires insurance companies spend most of your premium on actual medical care, not on their sky-high CEO salaries, advertising or claims denial bureaucracy. If they spend more than 20 percent on their overhead, they must give you a cash refund or an equivalent discount on your next payment. Either way, it’s money in your pocket.

A lot of the refunds will go to those of you who buy your own health insurance, as opposed to those of you who get coverage through your employer. And some companies already are spending less on overhead, so not everyone will get a refund.

But many insurance companies are falling below the mark. Is yours one of them? Find out!

Check out our refund map, then share it with friends and family.

Everyone paying for health insurance could be eligible for a refund (public programs like Medicare and Medicaid spend comparatively little on administration and will not be giving refunds). If you know anyone else who might want to know about this important benefit, please forward this email so they can check out our map, too!

DeAnn Friedholm,

FDA allows cancer chemicals in food

Ask the FDA to ban cancer-causing chemicals in all of our food.                       
      Sign Susan’s Petition

FDA: Get cancer-causing chemicals out of ALL food packaging now!

Started by: Susan, Portland, Oregon

The FDA just announced that baby bottles and sippy cups can no longer contain bisphenol A (BPA), a controversial hormone-disrupting chemical that studies show is linked with cancer, obesity, heart disease, and other life-threatening diseases.

This is a huge step towards getting dangerous chemicals out of our food supply. BPA isn’t just found in baby products — routine tests have found BPA in more than 80% of Americans’ bodies. It’s used in packaging food, lining cans for soups and sodas, and more.

Protecting my kids doesn’t stop when they graduate from bottles and sippy cups. I am counting on the FDA to help regulate this dangerous chemical so the people I care about most in the world are safe — no matter how old they are.

I know that together we can make a difference. Last year, I helped pass a ban on BPA in children’s products in my own community in Oregon. Doctors, researchers, and medical experts testified about the risks of this chemical and the importance of keeping BPA out of our children’s bodies. I was moved to tears by the hundreds of people who signed my petition in support of that campaign, and I hope this petition will make the FDA take notice, too.

Major brands have already begun distancing themselves from BPA due to consumer outrage. These companies have shown great leadership, but moving company by company and product by product is taking too long. BPA will continue to make people sick until it’s out of our food supply for good. We need strong action from the FDA now to protect us, and our kids, from these dangerous chemicals.

Tell the FDA to ban BPA now.


Click here to sign Susan’s petition, “FDA: Get cancer-causing chemicals out of ALL food packaging now!”.

You can also check out other popular petitions on by clicking here.

Affordable Care Act: If you received a rebate check, Thank President Obama!

PDF]Affordable Care Act: The New Health Care Law at Two Years

These savings include a one-time $250 rebate check to seniors who hit the “donut hole” coverage gap in 2010, and a 50 percent discount on brand-name drugs in the ……/careact.pdf

[PDF]The Affordable Care Act Helps Seniors

These savings include a one-time $250 rebate check to seniors who fell into the prescription drug coverage gap known as the “donut hole” in 2010, and a 50 percent…/the_aca_helps_seniors.pdf

The Affordable Care Act – Implementation Timeline | The White House

An estimated four million seniors who hit the gap in Medicare prescription drug coverage known as the “donut hole” this year will receive a $250 rebate. First checks…/timeline

[PDF]The Affordable Care Act Helps Women

step, in 2010, nearly four million people in the donut hole received a $250 check to … If they don’t, they must provide consumers a rebate or reduce premiums.…/the_aca_helps_women.pdf

[PDF]The Affordable Care Act Helps Americans with Disabilities

check to help with their costs. In 2011, 3.6 million people with Medicare received … provide consumers a rebate or reduce premiums. Scrutinizing Unreasonable Premium ……/the_aca_helps_americans_with_disabilities….

Health Reform in Action | The White House

Official government site provides information about the President’s Plan, its progress, and guiding principles of health care reform. Includes video and full plan.

[PDF]The Affordable Care Act Helps Rural America

… step, in 2010, nearly four million people in the donut hole received a $250 check to … If they don’t, they must provide consumers a rebate or reduce premiums.…/the_aca_helps_rural_america.pdf

[PDF]The Price of Repealing the Affordable Care Act

2010, nearly four million people in the donut hole received a $250 check to help … If they don’t, they must provide consumers a rebate or reduce premiums.…/the_aca_helps_african_americans_fact_sheet…

General Mills Gets Huge Outpouring of Support for Marriage Equality Stance –

Nearly 80k Thank General Mills for Marriage Equality Support

General Mills made headlines last month when the company announced its opposition to the discriminatory ballot measure in Minnesota that would ban committed, loving same-sex couples from marrying.

The National Organization for Marriage was, of course, not pleased – and promptly launched an ill-conceived campaign calling on consumers to boycott the iconic company for pushing a “radical social agenda.” Since the campaign’s inception, about 20,000 people have signed on.

HRC later launched an action thanking General Mills for supporting marriage equality – that action has nearly 80,000 supporters to date; four times the number of NOM supporters. Join those thanking General Mills and sign your name now.

Please, add your name to our petition. We’re sending a powerful message to General Mills that consumers back companies that support marriage equality. Just last week, Fortune 500 company Thomson Reuter also voiced its support for equality and came out against the amendment.

HRC is a proud supporter of the coalition, Minnesotans United for All Families, working to defeat the amendment banning same-sex marriage in the state.  HRC has set up a special fund – HRC Minnesota Family Freedom PAC – to direct 100 percent of your contribution to defeat the anti-marriage constitutional amendment in Minnesota.