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Gianforte Votes for Defense Bill That Includes His Little Shell Recognition Measure

December 11, 2019
Press Release

Congressman Greg Gianforte (R-Mont.) today voted for the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which includes his measure to provide federal recognition to the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians. The bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives on a 377-48 vote.

“Today marks an important day for the Little Shell Tribe. They’ve waited for more than eight decades for federal recognition, which is now one step closer to reality. I appreciate the hard work and dedication of Chairman Gray and the Little Shell people who have been strong advocates for their worthy cause,” Gianforte said. “I’m proud to have stood with them and to work in the House to deliver on their long-overdue federal recognition.”

NDAA also supports a 3.1 percent pay raise for troops, the largest increase in a decade, and includes an overhaul of privatized military housing.

NDAA ends the Widow’s Tax, a current policy that requires the surviving spouses of members killed in the line of duty or from a service-connected cause to forfeit the Survivor Benefit Pension annuity.

NDAA also includes Gianforte’s measure that provides a path to improvements at Malmstrom Air Force Base for greater potential capacity. Gianforte worked with Congressman Mike Turner (R-Ohio), Republican leader on the House Armed Services Committee’s Strategic Forces Subcommittee, on the measure which directs the Secretary of the Air Force to consider how to use existing funds to improve facilities, like Malmstrom, instead of building new ones in an effort to reduce costs and speed up the basing process for future flying missions. It also includes $59 million to fund construction on the Weapons and Maintenance Facility at Malmstrom.

“This legislation will make our country safer, implement the President’s National Defense Strategy to confront our adversaries, and gives our men and women in uniform a much-needed raise. Important to Montana and particularly to Great Falls, it also provides a path to improvements at Malmstrom,” Gianforte said. “Thankfully, this is a bipartisan measure to ensure we defend our country without all the hyper-partisan elements House Democrats included in their bill earlier this year.”

Background:

Gianforte’s Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians Restoration Act restores the federal recognition of the Little Shell Tribe and allows the Tribe to purchase 200 acres of land to serve as its reservation. The legislation makes the Little Shell Tribe eligible for federal resources for economic development, health, and education.

The Little Shell Tribe petitioned the federal government in the 1930s and 1940s for a formal reservation and to be allowed to organize under the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934.

In March 2019, Gianforte’s legislation to provide federal recognition to the Little Shell Tribe, H.R. 297, passed the U.S. House of Representatives on a 403-21 vote. It marked the second time a bill providing federal recognition to the tribe passed either chamber of Congress.

In January 2019, Gianforte reintroduced the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians Restoration Act.

In September 2018, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed Gianforte’s bill. The successful vote marked the first time a bill restoring federal recognition to the Little Shell Tribe passed either the House or Senate. Despite passing the U.S. House, it failed to pass the U.S. Senate.

In September 2017, Gianforte introduced the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians Restoration Act, H.R. 3764.