Levi Rickert, editor-in-chief in Native Briefs. Discussion »
WASHINGTON Last year the Obama administration made efforts, without Tribal consultation, to cap Contract Support Costs.
Contract support costs are defined as an amount for the reasonable costs for those activities that must be conducted by a tribal contractor to ensure compliance with the terms of the contract and prudent management.
On June 18, 2012, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the tribes over Contract Support Costs disputes. In Salazar v. Ramah Navajo Chapter found:
“The Government must pay each Tribe’s contract support costs in full, and rejected the argument that a contractor could not recover ‘amounts beyond the maximum appropriated by Congress for a particular purpose’ as a contractor could not be reasonably expected to know how much remained available of Congress’ lump-sum appropriation.”
The US Chamber of Commerce, which established the Native American Enterprise Initiative (NAEI), last December, has come out in support of American Indian tribes to stop the effort to cap Contract Support Costs.
This effort by the US Chamber of Commerce became known with the release of a letter sent by the organization’s Executive Vice President for Government Affairs Bruce Josten to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, urging HHS to terminate the current effort by the Department to cap Contract Support Costs owed to federally recognized tribes.
A portion of the letter read:
Drawing on the Chamber’s record of business advocacy, the NAEI seeks to remove legislative and regulatory roadblocks to their economic success. The Department’s effort to cap is clearly a significant roadblock for many tribes.
The Chamber and the NAEI are strongly supportive of the Tribal position on this matter, and strongly urge the Administration to withdraw the CSC caps proposal. We also urge the Administration to work with tribal governments and the Congressional Committees of jurisdiction to find an equitable solution.
The letter was sent to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius because the Contract Support Costs impact Indian Health Service contracts, which fall under the department.
posted October 10, 2013 6:20 am edt