Alaska's Congressman Representative Don Young successfully tacked an amendment onto the National Defense Authorization Act last week, aimed at reducing the red tape Alaska Native Corporations must go through to contract for business.
"Since Senator Stevens left the Senate, Native contractors have been under constant attack," Young said in a release. "Section 811 was snuck into the 2010 NDAA negotiations by the Senate, and ever since then I have repeatedly heard about the damage this Act has caused our Native contractors. My amendment makes it crystal clear that Section 811 should not, and cannot, be used as a barrier to prevent Native corporations to get contracts."
The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2014 is still being debated by the U.S. House of Representatives. Young's addition seeks to correct adverse conditions created by the FY2010 Act.
According to the release from Young's office, section 811 of that act requires an unfairly burdensome approval process for Native American single-source contracts that exceed $20 million.
This same scrutiny is not present for other contractors, the release stated, and has helped to cause a 60 percent decline in revenue from such contracts.
"This has resulted in a loss of jobs, reduced benefits to Native Americans and has led to unintended discrimination against Native community owned firms," the release states.
Young believes the increased justification and approval process of contracts has been inconsistent across years and entities, and goes against the original Congressional intent of the legislation. It puts a road block between small business program ventures and Native contractors, the release said.
"In addition to the clarifying language, I have secured the commitment from my friend, the Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee Buck McKeon (R-CA), to join me in providing continued oversight of federal agency implementation of Section 811," Young said.