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October 17, 2000

H.R. 4148 - Tribal Contract Support Cost Technical
Amendments of 2000 Act

(Rep. Young (R) AK and Rep. Hayworth (R) AZ)

Although the Administration supports the broad goals and philosophy promoted by H.R. 4148 to continue strengthening tribal sovereignty and the principles of Indian self-determination, the Administration cannot support the bill or the manager's amendment to be offered in the nature of a substitute because of the significant concerns discussed below.

H.R. 4148 appears to amend the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (ISDEAA) to provide that an Indian tribe or tribal organization administering a contract or compact shall be entitled to recover all indirect contract costs for their programs, including pre-award, start-up, and other costs that are not currently eligible for Federal reimbursement. Because H.R. 4148 lacks clarity, is overly broad, and appears to go beyond the statutory framework of the ISDEAA, this bill could create ambiguity that leads to unnecessary litigation regarding the obligation of Federal agencies to pay these indirect costs. As well, H.R. 4148 could create budgetary and programmatic disruptions by requiring many Federal agencies to divert funds from current program services to pay for these tribal administrative costs.

The Administration is also concerned that H.R. 4148 would shift program responsibility for the review of contract costs from one office at the Indian Health Service (Department of Health and Human Services) to another. The Administration opposes this type of micromanagement and believes that the Executive Branch should be afforded the appropriate authority to manage its programs.

For these reasons, the Administration cannot support H.R. 4148 but will continue to work with the Congress to address its concerns.