President Obama signs Tribal General Welfare Act into law

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Contact: Jared King
Communications Director
Navajo Nation Washington Office
(202) 200-0625

For Immediate Release

President Obama signs Tribal General Welfare Act into law

WASHINGTON–On Sept. 26, President Barack Obama signed HR 3043, the Tribal General Welfare Exclusion Act, into law.

The Navajo Nation supported the act through council resolution and strongly advocated for its passage.

The passage of the act was an extraordinary demonstration of bipartisan support in the 113th U.S. Congress. It was sponsored in the House by Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif.

It was co-sponsored by 61 House members including Reps. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., Raúl Grijalva, D-Ariz., Ann Kirkpatrick, D-Ariz., Ben Ray Luján, D-N.M., Michelle Lujan Grisham, D-N.M., and David Schweikert, R-Ariz.

The measure was sponsored in the Senate by Sens. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., and Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., and was co-sponsored by Sens. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., and Tom Udall, D-N.M.

The act supports tribal self-determination and sovereignty. In recent times, tribal governments have been unfairly subjected to intrusive and overreaching examinations by the Internal Revenue Service that do not similarly scrutinize similar state-run assistance programs.

Now, pursuant to the act, tribal governments have the ability to decide what services and programs best meet the needs of their communities without the fear that the IRS will audit and fine them.

It also gives ease of mind to the recipients of the assistance programs that they will not have personal income tax levied on the value of the assistance they receive.

Importantly, the act directs the secretary of the Treasury to establish a Tribal Advisory Committee to advise the secretary on matters relating the taxation of tribal governments.

It also requires the training and education of IRS agents on federal Indian law and implementation of the act.

Lastly, it will temporarily suspends the audits and examinations of the general welfare assistance programs run by tribes until the implementation and training is completed.

For more information contact Carolyn Drouin, government and legislative affairs associate at