Congressman Kildee: We Must Ensure Native Americans and Tribal Governments Are Treated Fairly in U.S. Tax Code


Date: March 4, 2020

Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05), Chief Deputy Whip of the House Democratic Caucus, today applauded the Ways and Means Committee for holding a hearing on how the tax code impacts Native Americans and tribal governments.

For months, Kildee has worked with Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal (MA-01), Ways and Means Select Revenue Measures Subcommittee Chairman Mike Thompson (CA-05), and tribal governments from around the nation to hold today's hearing, this is the first time the committee has looked at the impact of the tax code on Indian nations. Congressman Kildee represents the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe in Michigan.

Historically, Native American tribes have been excluded from or treated differently under federal tax provisions, despite facing similar issues or more persistent economic challenges compared to non-tribal communities. Native American tribes experience some of the highest levels of poverty and unemployment in the U.S. yet are currently treated differently when it comes to many economic development and other tax incentives.

During the hearing, Congressman Kildee discussed the need to ensure that our tax laws promote the fair treatment of Native Americans and tribal governments. In 2017, Kildee criticized Republicans for rushing through their tax plan without any congressional hearings, tribal governments were left entirely out of the bill. In many parts of the existing federal tax code, including the New Markets Tax Credit, the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit, the Adoption Tax Credit, Indian Health Service scholarships and student loan repayment, and tax-exempt bond financing, tribes are excluded or treated differently.

"We must ensure that our tax laws promote fair treatment of Native Americans and tribal governments," Congressman Kildee said. "I am proud that the Ways and Means Committee, under the leadership of Chairman Neal and Subcommittee Chairman Thompson, held this historic hearing to consider changes to our tax code that would ensure parity for Indian nations. We must ensure that we honor the sovereignty of tribal nations while living up to our own trust responsibility to address inequities in our tax code as we see them."