Sen. Schatz Leads Oversight Hearing on Infrastructure Law, Programs for Native Communities

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, led an oversight hearing titled, “Setting New Foundations: Implementing the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) for Native Communities,” to hear from the administration and experts from Native communities on the bipartisan infrastructure law and federal infrastructure programs benefiting Native communities.

Schatz opened the hearing by recognizing the longstanding infrastructure needs and the IIJA’s historic federal investment to address those needs.

“Federal funding for infrastructure in Native communities across the country has long lagged behind need,” said Chairman Schatz. “[But] thanks to the bipartisan leadership of many on this committee, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act contains over $11 billion in dedicated resources for Native communities to improve crumbling roads and bridges throughout Indian Country, provide tribes with access to adequate water and sanitation, enhance broadband service for Native communities and strengthen tribal climate resiliency, among other critical infrastructure priorities.”

Federal infrastructure funding continues to flow to Native communities, demonstrated by announcements from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, Department of the Interior, and Federal Highway Administration.

The following witnesses participated in the oversight hearing:

  • Wizipan Garriott, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, D.C.
  • Elizabeth Fowler, Acting Director, Indian Health Service, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C.
  • Timothy Hess, Associate Administrator for Federal Lands, Federal Highway Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation, Washington, D.C.
  • Adam Geisler, Division Chief, Tribal Connectivity and Nation-to-Nation Coordination, National Telecommunication and Information Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, Washington, D.C.
  • The Honorable Mark Mitchell, Chairman, All Pueblo Council of Governors, Albuquerque, NM
  • The Honorable Harold Frazier, Chairman, Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association, Eagle Butte, SD
  • Garret Yoshimi, Chief Information Officer & Vice President – Information Technology, University of Hawai‘i, Honolulu, HI
  • Nicole Borromeo, Executive Vice President & General Counsel, Alaska Federation of Natives, Anchorage, AK